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The Surprising International History of Cheesecake

Happy National Cheesecake Day!

Ancient Beginnings

Ancient Beginnings

When it comes to cheesecake, every respectable baker has a recipe that they swear by—whether it's been passed down by family or perfected through trial and error. What is it about the creamy dessert that makes us go crazy? And just where did cheesecake come from?

It all started in Ancient Greece, where the baked mixture of cheese, wheat, and honey was served at all sorts of special events, from weddings to the Olympics. Historians believe that the origins of the first cheesecake can be traced back to Samos in around 2000 B.C. 

The Romans soon got their hands on the recipe, however, and added their own twist: eggs. This modified recipe spread throughout Europe as the Romans pushed into new territories, and each region put their own spin on it. 

Cheesecake Conquers the World

Cheesecake Conquers the World

In 1545, Henry VIII ordered the first printed cookbook to be made and it included a recipe for cheesecake. Among other things, the recipe called for soaking pieces of cheese in milk for a few hours before straining it into eggs, sugar, and butter. 

Luckily, that's not the recipe we typically use today. 

As more and more Europeans began immigrating to the United States, they brought their cheesecake recipes with them. Though to this day, that recipe may change based on what city you're in—New York, Chicago, or St. Louis—cheesecake finally started to look like the dessert we all know and love around this time. The accidental creation of cream cheese by a dairy farmer in New York State cemented cheesecake's place on Americans' dessert plates. 

Cheesecake is now famous the world over, but don't think that means that it's all the same wherever you go! Italian cheesecake recipes, for example, typically call for ricotta or mascarpone, while the Greeks use mizithra cheese. Germans, Russians, and Polish like to use either quark or cottage cheese, and the Japanese make a flan-like cheesecake using a cornstarch and egg white emulsification. 

No matter where in the world you are, today is a great day to celebrate with a slice of cheesecake! 

 

 

Hungry for more? Here are The 50 Best Cheesecake Recipes on the Internet.

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Chef Tips and Tricks

VIDEO: Strawberry Cheesecake Bites

This no-bake dessert is so quick, so easy, and oh so delicious!

 

Ingredients

  • 12 strawberries
  • 8 oz cream cheese (1 package)
  • 1/2 cup powedered sugar
  • 4 small graham crackers

 

Method

  1. Hull the strawberries.
  2. In a bowl, mix the cream cheese and sugar.
  3. Fill each strawberry with the cheesecake filling.
  4. Smash the graham crackers and sprinkle on top.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

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