Who can resist a perfectly balanced, creamed perfection like the cheesecake? This rich dessert made of blended cheeses has a history as rich as its delicious texture. Learn all about the origin of cheesecake, like when was cheesecake invented and what it has to do with New York.
Cheesecake is a rich dessert made of blended cheese resting on a sweet crust, and has a long and interesting history. When was cheesecake invented? The earliest cheesecake records go back all the way to the Olympic Games in 776 BC! They probably needed the calories to compete in these athletic games. The Romans picked it up from the Greeks, and the spread the cheesecake through Europe as they conquered a vast amount of the area around the Mediterranean Sea.
It's possible, though, that cheesecake even pre-dates the Greeks. There is some evidence that cheesecake might have been made as far back as 2000 BC in Greece - archaeologists have found cheese molds on the island of Samos. Sheep were domesticated around 7000 BC, so it's possible that cheesecake in some form has existing since the arrival of cheese and cheese products.
Early cheesecakes weren't as sweet or thick. They were made from hard cheeses that was pounded until it was creamy. The modern cheesecake we know didn't arrive until the invention of cream cheese.
What makes cheesecake so creamy and smooth? In 1872, an American dairyman made an amazing mistake. He was trying to make a version of French Neufchatel cheese, but failed. Instead, he had pioneered the process for a supremely rich and creamy unripened cheese, which became modern cream cheese.
This cream cheese has been sold for over a century by the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Company. Cream cheese is one of those foods that shows - if it's not broke, don't fix it! Since 1928 Kraft has owned the brand, and has been distributing the cream cheese everyone loves ever since.
What is the difference between cheesecake and New York cheesecake? One of the biggest events in cheesecake history was the invention of New York cheesecake. New York cheesecake has a crust of graham crackers, and is made with heavy cream or sour cream, which makes it easier to freeze.
New York cheesecake is baked in a tall pan, at first at a high heat to brown the outside, then lowered to achieve a smooth and dense texture inside. Arnold Reuben takes credit for the first cream cheesecake recipe, baked and served from the Turf Restaurant on 49th and Broadway.
What is your favorite flavor of cheesecake? Are you a fan of the fruit kinds (blueberry? strawberry?) or more of a classic cheesecake fan? What are your thoughts on graham cracker crusts? Let us know in the comments below!