Over 40 years ago—yes, that’s how long it’s been. Dear Readers, it’s been over four decades since I made my first cheesecake. I was shaking like a leaf and was at wit’s end while following the recipe’s directions to a T. Baking perfection was my goal!
As did many homemakers of that era, I relished purchasing women’s magazines in order to discover new recipes. Those gorgeous food photos within magazines’ pages kept me drooling and were the catalysts for magazine acquisition and challenging baking! Does that ring a bell with you, too, Dear Readers?
There, on page 68 of the homemaking periodical, was the most drop-dead-beautiful cheesecake I had ever seen! It was tall, light golden brown with nary a crack in its top. It had the words, Best of the Best, in its title. Would cheesecake baking really be as difficult as I had anticipated?
What’s Your Preference?
Miss NiNi realizes that we all might have varying expectations of a cheesecake’s outcome. It’s the old Goldlilocks theory. Some like it heavy and dense. Some like it with light-as-a feather texture. Some like it baked. Some like it prepared without the need for baking.
Whatever your preference, you cannot go wrong with a selection. Your taste buds will thank you with the cry of, ‘More! More please!’
Do you realize, Dear Readers, that the beloved cheesecake did not originate in New York? Contrary to popular belief, cheesecake was first created thousands of miles from New York City in Greece. And get a load of this—the first cheesecake dates back to the year 2000 B.C. www.cheesecake.com. It was known to even have been served to athletes during the first Olympic games in 776 B.C.
One might suppose that recipes for those delicious desserts had been saved. Unfortunately, they were not. My Internet source went on to state that the Greek, Athenaeus, was on the ball and wrote the first cheesecake recipe ever—in 230 A.D. That recipe has the honor of being the oldest known surviving Greek recipe. My goodness, Dear Readers! He must have had a dessert-baking, recipe-creating passion within his heart just like Miss NiNi does! Pretty cool!
The Origins of a Classic
So how did New York style cheesecake come to be? Our friends at www.cheesecake.com tell it like this. “By the 1900s, New Yorkers were in love with this dessert. Virtually every restaurant had its own version of cheesecake on their menu. New Yorkers have vied for bragging rights for having the original recipe ever since.
Even though he is best known for his signature sandwiches, Arnold Reuben (1883-1970) is generally credited for creating the New York Style cheesecake. Reuben was born in Germany but came to America when he was young. The story goes that Reuben was invited to a dinner party where the hostess served a cheese pie. Allegedly, he was so intrigued by this dish that he experimented with the recipe until he came up with the beloved NY Style cheesecake. That’s how Miss NiNi creates a recipe, too. Mr. Reuben and Miss NiNi could have been tag-team partners in the recipe-creation arena.
Different ingredients and mixing techniques certainly make the difference between varying styles of cheesecake. For instance, New York cheesecake is made with more egg yolks to give the cheesecake a very velvety texture. It is served plain without any fruit or chocolate adornment.
Chicagoans prefer a creamier version, so they add sour cream to their recipe.
Not to be outdone by their neighbors, Philadelphia cheesecake is known for being lighter and creamier than New York style cheesecake. Put on all of the fruit or chocolate toppings that you want! It’s fine and dandy to do that in Philly.
The St. Louis cheesecake version is more like a gooey butter cake. Cake combined with cheesecake filling hits the bulls eye in St. Louie, Dear Readers!
When folks at Miss NiNi’s Desserterie view our selection of 12 cheesecakes, they often ask the question, “What is your favorite cheesecake?” My answer always is, “I do not have a favorite. I enjoy them all!”
Every cheesecake I create may not have the words, ‘Best of the Best’ within its title. But, my goodness, the flavors and textures of each deliciously unique dessert will keep taste buds jumping for joy!
And really, Dear Readers, a cheesecake is not as difficult to create as one might think. Why not try baking one yourself?