Once 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
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 richness.
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.