Cheesecake: A Story Old As Time

Piece of Cheesecake

Cheese, wheat and sweetener. Such simple building blocks make up a dessert so loved and coveted that practically every region of the world has its own version. From ancient Greece to modern-day Japan, cheesecake has made its mark on the hearts and bellies of sweet tooth’s since written history even existed.

via GIPHY

With its smooth, creamy texture and rich, unapologetically sweet taste, the simplicity behind cheesecake is one of its most powerful assets. You would be hard pressed to find someone who’d refuse such confectionary royalty, with the much more likely scenario being that they prefer New York style to Italian or vice versa.

 

Origin

Ancient Greeks & Cheesecake
via Protothema

While cheese molds dated to 2000 B.C. have been discovered, the first cheesecake recipe is credited to Athenaeus in 230 A.D.. In it, cheese was pounded until smooth and pasty, mixed with honey and spring wheat flour before being baked, cooled and served. These ancient cheesecakes were enjoyed not only by Grecian brides and grooms during wedding celebrations, but the first Olympic athletes also partook.

As with many elements of the culture, when the Roman Empire conquered the Greeks their cheesecake recipe was taken & modified with crushed cheese and eggs to their own Roman version called “libuma”. Served on special occasions, the first cheesecake filling was created when cheesecake was enclosed and baked in pastries.

Cheesecake With Blueberries

With the size & spread of the Roman Empire the increasingly popular dessert made its way to Eastern European countries. Here recipes were experimented & expanded upon, being featured in the recipe books of Henry VIII & beyond. It was not until the 18th century however that cheesecake as we know it began to take shape.

 

Variations

Topped Cheesecake

In an attempt to replicate a French recipe for Neufchatel, cream cheese was created by New York dairy farmer William A. Lawrence in 1872. In the years following, cream cheese exploded in popularity and usage, including its addition to cheesecake – a revolution in the flavor and direction of the desert.

Then, with the advancement of using beaten eggs in place of yeast and the addition of smooth, subtle cream cheese, America soon took the popularity of cheesecake to new heights. Along with waves of immigrants came waves of recipes for the confectionary marvel, a factor that lead directly to the creation of one of the world’s most popular variations – New York Style cheesecake.

Cheesecake with Cherries

In the early 1900’s virtually every New York restaurant had its own version of the dessert available to enjoy. In Chicago, sour cream makes an exotic and tangy appearance. In Philadelphia you’ll find cheesecake to be much lighter and fluffier than New York style and almost always served with fruit or chocolate toppings. In St. Louis you’ll find a delightfully gooey and buttery cheesecake, complete with an extra layer of cake topping on the cheesecake filling.

 

Cheesecake Around The World

France – Neufchatel

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Nawale Aoutar (@nwle_art) on

Italy – Ricotta or Mascarpone

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by 🍭Adventures Of A Picky Eater (@adventuresofape) on

 

Greece – Myzithra Cheese

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Cassandra Yap (@cassandra_yap) on

 

Germany – Quark or Cottage Cheese

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Mr. Saugnapf (@mr.saugnapf) on

 

Japan – Cornstarch & Egg Whites

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by @thechabakery on

 

Sweden – Milk With Rennet

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Martina Lövgren (@lovelytiiina) on

 

Brazil – Topped With Marmalade

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Texas De Brazil México (@texasdebrazilmx) on

 

United Kingdom – Similar to U.S. with Crushed, Buttered Biscuit Crust. Topped with Fruit

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ocado (@ocadouk) on

 

U.S. – Cream Cheese, Heavy Cream, Sour Cream, Eggs, Sugar

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Carnegie Deli (@carnegiedeli) on

December 27, 2018