Creamy, delicious cheesecake is one of the best treats to eat on Shavuos–especially when made at home. Not all cheesecakes are created equal, though. There are different variations of this smooth, rich dessert found in many different countries. Each has a spin on this dairy dessert with unique ingredients, toppings, and textures. Here are some ways cheesecake is made in different parts of the world:
- Unlike most cheesecakes found in the U.S. and Canada made with cream cheese, Italian cheesecakes are made with ricotta. Romans used flour, ricotta, and honey to make a cheesecake loaf. Today, Italians use ricotta or mascarpone, vanilla, and sugar for a drier, lighter cake than American cheesecakes.
- Made with layers of phyllo dough and cheese-and-egg filling, Greek cheesecakes are traditionally made with mizithra, an unpasteurized fresh sheep or goat cheese. This cheese is similar to farmer’s cheese or ricotta.
- Found in coffee shops and pubs, cheesecakes in the U.K. are usually made with a mixture of cream cheese, sugar, and cream. Crumbled buttered biscuits are used as the crust, then topped with fruit compote like raspberry, black currant, or lemon curd. The same type of cheesecake is served in Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia.
- In Germany, they use a yogurt-like cheese made from sour milk called quark cheese to make their cheesecake. The cheese creates a sweet cake with a unique flavor that melts in your mouth. Quark cheese can be found in some stores, but cottage cheese or farmer’s cheese can be substituted in some recipes.
- French cheesecakes are light in texture and flavor. They use Neufchatel cheese, which is soft and slightly crumbly. It has a saltier, sharper taste.
- What makes Belgian cheesecake unique is the crust: made with a traditional Dutch-Belgian biscuit called Speculaas, often flavored with melted bittersweet chocolate.
- Unique flavors like matcha, which is a powdered form of green tea, can be found in Japan. Other flavors include lychee and mango. The texture of the cheesecakes is light and spongy with lighter flavor that is less sweet than American cheesecake.
South American. In Brazil and Argentina, a layer of marmalade is placed on top of the cheesecake. Guava marmalade is used in Brazil, while strawberry or other berry flavors is used in Argentina.
New York. Although there are many cheesecakes served around the U.S., the most renowned is the New York-style cheesecake. It’s a straight-up, simple cheesecake that is rich, dense, and creamy made with cream cheese, heavy cream, sour cream, eggs, and sugar. It is usually unadorned, but you can make it with toppings of fruit or chocolate shavings, marbled, or glazed with chocolate, or any confection creation you can imagine.Â v
White Chocolate Cheesecake With Raspberry Preserves
And White Chocolate Glaze
1Â¼ cups shortbread cookies or graham crackers
2 tsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
Filling and Topping:
18 oz. white chocolate, divided
32 oz. cream cheese, softened
5 eggs, room temperature
Â¾ cup sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
1Â½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup raspberry jam
1 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 400Â°F. In the bowl of a food processor, add shortbread cookies and pulse to create crumbs. Add 2 teaspoons sugar and melted butter, and pulse to mix. Place mixture into bottom of 9-inch springform pan, pressing to flatten to the bottom. Bake for 5—6 minutes. Remove from oven and lower oven temperature to 325Â°.
Melt 6 ounces white chocolate and let cool. Place cream cheese in a bowl and add eggs, one at a time. Add sugar, flour, and vanilla, and mix. With mixer on low, slowly add white chocolate and mix well. Spray sides of pan with cooking spray and pour mixture inside. Bake for 40 minutes until edges are firm but center is still a little soft. Allow cake to cool in the oven with the door open for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for an hour. This will prevent cake from cracking.
Heat preserves in the microwave just enough to make it spreadable; pour evenly over top of cake. Heat the cream for one minute in the microwave or on the stovetop just under boiling. Pour over the remaining 12 ounces of white chocolate. Stir until chocolate melts and a smooth sauce forms. Let it cool, then drizzle over the preserves and use to serve with cheesecake.
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