Cheesecake Cooking Styles

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Ricotta cheese.Image via WikipediaOnce upon a time, when athletes in Ancient Greece
started competing in rigorous events at Olympic Games,
slices of cheesecakes were made, which basically
contained the three basic ingredients: cheese, wheat
flour and sweetener. They pounded all the ingredients
together until it attained a paste-like consistency.
They baked the mixture, cooled and served to provide
athletes with the energy they need to compete. This
was known as the birth of the cheesecake.
The Roman Empire then conquered Greece and acquired
the divine treat and spread it throughout Europe and
any territory they occupied. Since then, the basic
cheese, flour and sweetener, was replaced with
whatever ingredient native to the land that adopted
the cheesecake recipe. The usual white Greek cheese
was replaced by ricotta and mascarpone by the
Italians, Neufchatel by the French, quark cheese by
the Germans and cream cheese by the Americans.
Eventually, this monumental event in culinary history
paved the way for several different styles in creating
the cheesecake.
The European Cheesecake
The Europeans were the first to adopt the cheesecake
recipe. They were also the first to apply several
variations in the conventional cheesecake. There are
many countries that have also placed their own style
on creating cheesecakes and they include Italy,
France, United Kingdom, and New Zealand.
Firstly, the United Kingdom and New Zealand cheesecake
is similar. Their cheesecakes are generally cold
desserts that are neither baked nor cooked.
Cheesecakes from these countries are made with
crumbled digestive biscuits combined with butter and
pressed into a dish in order to form a base layer.
They used fillings or toppings, which mainly
constitute of sugar, cheese, cream, milk and gelatin
mixed together.
In Italy, there are two styles of cooking cheesecakes,
namely the Roman and Italian style. Roman style
cheesecakes use ricotta-like cheese and honey combined
with flour and traditionally shaped into loaves. There
are also other recipes that call for bay leaves, which
may have been used to preserve the treat. Nowadays,
Roman style cheesecakes are still baked in Italian
areas, which kept the culinary traditions alive after
the fall of Rome.
On the other hand, Italian style cheesecakes are the
modern versions of the Roman cheesecake. These
cheesecakes use either mascarpone or ricotta cheese
and replace honey with sugar. They also omitted the
use of bay leaves and added other new-age ingredients,
such as: barley flakes and vanilla extract. Typically,
this type of cheesecake is drier compared to American
style cheesecakes and often added with tiny bits of
candied fruit.
A very light cheesecake is the main description of
French cheesecakes. These cakes feature gelatin as the
main binding ingredient and are generally only 3 to 5
centimeters tall. This variety of cheesecake achieves
its light flavor and texture from the Neufchatel
cheese. More so, French cheesecakes are found outdoors
in markets at the South of France and fine pastry
stores in Paris.
The American Cheesecake
In America, cheesecakes typically rely on cream cheese
as an alternative to the French Neufchatel. One of the
most popular cheesecakes in America is the New York
style cheesecake. This was made famous by a deli and
relies on cream cheese, heavy cream, eggs, and egg
yolks in order to add a smooth consistency and
New York style cheesecakes are also known as Jewish
style and are baked in a specific 13 to 15 centimeter
tall spring form pan in several restaurants. There are
also other recipes of the cheesecake that use lemon
and cottage cheese for distinct flavor and texture.

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