For cheesecake lovers, there can never be too many types of the sweet and creamy dessert to choose from. Americans love their NY style gourmet cheesecake plain with no toppings. In St. Louis, cheesecakes have an extra layer of fluffy cake on top of them. And Philadelphia cheesecakes are whipped, light and topped with berries. But what kind of cheesecakes do other countries enjoy?
The cheesecake actually originated in ancient Rome and Greece. Even before formal writing could record a recipe, cheesecakes were being baked. We know this because historians have found remains of cheesecake molds in ancient ruins back as far as 2000BC.
Today, most countries have their own version of the cheesecake. In Germany, the cake is not as sweet and, in fact, is not baked at all. It consists of quark cheese and cream. In Canada, maple syrup is the main differentiation.
French bakers use Neufchatel cheese to make a more gelatinous and sweet cake. The Italians make a pie that’s called grano which is a rice, ricotta, marscapone cheese and candied fruit chunks. Try cheese cakes from around the world as often as you can in restaurants and specialty shops. They’re a treat for the tastebuds.
Try making an Italian cheesecake and you just may fall in love with it. It’s traditionally eaten at Easter by Italians. Or, make a French cake using Neufchatel cheese from the grocery store.
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. butter, softened
2 tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 lb. ricotta cheese, well drained
1/2 c. granulated sugar
3 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. grated orange peel
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. golden raisins
2 tbsp. finely minced candied citron
2 tbsp. chopped blanched almonds
2 tbsp. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
For Pastry: Mix all ingredients until blended, press evenly in bottom of ungreased 9-inch spring form pan. Bake in 475 degree oven for 5 minutes.
For Filling: Beat ricotta cheese, granulated sugar, flour, eggs, orange peel, vanilla and salt in large mixer bowl on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 4 minutes. Stir in raisins, citron and almonds. Pour into pastry-lined pan.
Bake in 350 degree oven until center is set and top is golden brown, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Cool. Refrigerate 12-24 hours. Remove outer rim of pan. Mix powdered sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over cheesecake. Makes 12-16 servings.
9 whole sheets low-fat cinnamon graham crackers, finely ground
2 Tbsp. + 1 1/2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
4 packages. Neufchatel cream cheese, at room temperature
1 egg + 2 egg whites
1 container reduced-fat sour cream
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla, extract
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
Canned cherry pie filling, optional
Position racks in center of lower third of oven. Place roasting pan on lower rack; fill halfway with water. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Coat spring form pan with cooking spray. Combine crumbs with 2 Tbsp. sugar; stir in butter and 1 Tbsp. water. Press into bottom of pan. At medium high speed, beat cream cheese and remaining sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and whites, then sour cream, cornstarch, vanilla and zest. Pour into crust.
Bake on center rack 1 hour or until center jiggles slightly when pan is shaken. Turn oven off. Let stand in oven with door closed 30 minutes. Run knife around edge. Cool. Refrigerate at least 8 hours. If desired, top with filling.
Want more cheesecake recipes? Try some of these: