Cheesecake: Its History and Preparation

Cheesecake is thought of as a simple cheesecake with a cookie base, just as it is thought of as a dessert of Anglo-Saxon origin.

But are we sure this is really so? Learn here the origins of this delicious recipe.

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History

It seems that the origins of the first cheesecake date back to ancient Greece

The Romans modified the recipe, added eggs and changed the goat cheese for a softer cow’s milk cheese. 

The first records of this goat cheese and honey cake date back to 776 BC.

It was the Romans, with the expansion of their empire, who spread the recipe throughout Europe.

But when did the recipe become American, turning cheesecake into a traditional dessert?

It happened in 1872 thanks to the dairyman William Lawrence, who produced the first cheese spread, the “Philadelphia“, which would become the basis of the most famous cake known and reproduced in the world.

Cheesecake mora

This recipe has more than 4,000 years of history and has as many variations depending on the country in which it was adopted and the cheese used to make it.

While in the United States cream cheese is used, Italian cheesecakes use ricotta or mascarpone, while in Germany a shortcrust pastry base with a Quark cheese cream is used.

The Japanese version is called absorbent cotton cheesecake because of its incredible height and softness and is prepared with a mixture of eggs and corn starch.

In France, on the other hand, the cheesecake has a height of 3/5 cm and is made with Neufchatel cheese.

Mizithropita it is called in because it is named after the cheese used, mizithra.

In Malta we find Kejkbil-gobon, a cheesecake made with typical Maltese cookies and a caramel sauce. 

Not to be missed is the jam in Brazilian or Argentinian cheesecakes.

Types of Cheesecake

Cheesecakes are divided into several types:

Baked, with an egg and cream base as for the New York version.

With egg and cheese for the classic Philadelphia cheesecake or with ricotta and mascarpone for the Italian version. These always include a cookie base, which is not present in the Japanese version.

Plato Cheesecake

From the fridge, where the cream is made with cheese and sour cream and left to set in the fridge.

With gelatin, and the classic no-bake version where the cream is thickened with the help of isinglass.

The preparation

The Cheesecake base: 

When we amalgamate the two ingredients with the help of a spatula, we cover the bottom of a mold and put it in the refrigerator to harden.

The cream: 

Beat the eggs with the sugar, add cream or cream cheese according to the recipe.

Then flavor the cream with vanilla or lemon and orange juice. In Ireland they do it with Bayles.

Assembling the cheesecake: pour the cream over the cookie base, level with a spatula.

Baking: 

bake at 150°-170°, it should bake slowly.

Decoration: 

For NewYork cheesecake, cover the surface with sour cream mixture and bake for another 10 minutes. 

Italian versions have the surface covered with jam. The more classic versions combine fresh or cooked berries in a sugar syrup.

Tips for your Cheesecake

To start, the ingredients should be at room temperature and not cold from the refrigerator.

Do not whip the cream too long, just have a homogeneous mixture.

If the cream is too runny, add rice starch to the mixture before baking.

Cheesecake Chocolate

To prevent the surface of the cheesecake from cracking after baking, we recommend baking it in a bain-marie or at a maximum temperature of 165°C for 45-60 minutes.

Let it cool in both cases in the oven turned off with the door ajar.

It will harden as it cools, so do not remove it from the mold until it is cold.

To prevent the cookie base from softening, we can add a handful of nuts, such as almonds or walnuts, to the dough.

Usually the cookies used for the classic version are Digestive cookies, but you can use dry or chocolate cookies for a tastier variant.

A round mold with a hinge is always recommended.

We always serve cheesecakes very cold.

Cheesecake in small portions is the ideal complement for a dessert table, it can be accompanied by macarons, meringues, churros or even other cakes. 

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Curious facts about Cheesecake 

Cheesecake or cheesecake?

According to L’accademia della Crusca, both genders are correct because if we refer to the cake we will say ‘the cheesecake’ and if we refer to the cheesecake we will say ‘the cheesecake’.

New York cheesecake recipe.

For the base:

250 g Digestive cookies, 150 g butter,

For the cream:

750 g cheese spread, 150 ml fresh cream, 200 g granulated sugar, 25 g corn starch, 6 eggs with the yolks and whites separated, the zest of ½ lemon, 150 ml sour cream.

For the finish

150 ml of sour cream, 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar.

To prepare the baked cheesecake recipe, prepare the cheesecake base by beating the cookies and mixing them with the melted butter.

Pour the mixture into the bottom of a flip-top mold previously lined with baking paper, level the base well and adhere the mixture also to the walls creating an even edge.

Place the mold in the refrigerator to harden for at least 30 minutes.

In a bowl, place the cream cheese with the cream and sugar, mix and add the egg yolks and cornstarch. 

Beat to obtain a homogeneous mixture, gently fold in the beaten egg whites and flavour with lemon zest. 

Pour the cream cheese into the cookie shell, level the mixture well, place the mold in a larger one, pour two fingers of warm water and bake in a bain-marie at 170°C for one hour.

When the cake is firm, take it out of the oven and pour the sour cream mixed with the sugar on top. 

Bake again for 10 minutes, then turn off the oven, open the door a little and let the cheesecake cool gently in the oven.  

Once it has cooled completely, carefully unmold and put the cake in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Decorate with berries.

Conclusions 

Cheesecake has had a great evolution over the years and each host country has added its original touch. 

It is very easy to prepare and you can make the version that best suits your capabilities.

Citrus fruits are the best option to flavor your Cheesecake.

It is a great idea to bring to the table as an appetizer or to serve in a buffet.

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