Articles and Recipes for Cheesecakes from around the world
Cheesecake is a dessert consisting of a topping made of soft, fresh cheese, usually on a crust or base made from biscuit (such as a graham cracker crust), pastry or sponge cake. They may be baked or unbaked. Cheesecakes are frequently sweetened with sugar and may be flavored or topped with fruit, nuts, fruit sauce and/or chocolate.
Cheesecake was already a popular dish in ancient Greece before Romans adopted it with the conquest of Greece. The earliest attested mention of a cheesecake is by the Greek physician Aegimus, who wrote a book on the art of making cheesecakes. Cato the Elder’s De Agri Cultura includes recipes for two cakes for religious uses: libum andplacenta. Of the two, placenta is most like most modern cheesecakes, having a crust that is separately prepared and baked.
In 1872, William Lawrence, from Chester, New York, while looking for a way to recreate the soft, French cheese Neufchâtel, accidentally came up with a way of making an “unripened cheese” that is heavier and creamier; other dairymen came up with similar creations independently. Lawrence distributed the cheese in foil, becoming a brand that is familiarly recognized as “Philadelphia”. Later on in 1912, James Kraft invented a form of this cream cheese, but pasteurized it; this is now the most commonly used cheese for cheesecake.
Almost all modern cheesecakes in the United States and Canada use cream cheese; in Italy, cheesecakes use ricotta; Germany and Poland use quark. Cheesecakes are most easily baked in a leak-proofspringform pan, often paired with a water bath to more evenly distribute the heat. Because of the high density of most cheesecakes, they continue baking for some time after removal from an oven.
Whether cheesecake should be classified as a cake, a custard, a torte, or something else is a matter of debate.
The early Greeks, from whom the form originates, considered it a cake. Some modern authors point to the presence of many eggs, the sole source of leavening, as proof that it is a torte. Still others claim that the separate crust, the soft filling, and the absence of flour prove that it is a custard pie.
Keeping with the theme of Christmas treats and baking I have the perfect recipe for you. This dreamy cheesecake is a show stopper. I have reduced the amount of sugar I would usually use, so the cherry and chocolate flavours can burst through. It’s so simple to make and, best of all, can be made a day or two in advance.
I hope this recipe makes it to your Christmas celebrations.
Chocolate & Cherry ripple cheesecake
Makes: 24cm round tin
250g (1 pkt) store-bought chocolate biscuits (eg choc ripple)
90g melted butter
500g cream cheese, softened
250g mascarpone, softened
100g caster sugar
300ml thickened cream, lightly whipped
120g dark chocolate, melted then cooled
375g fresh or tinned cherries, pips removed, finely chopped and juice reserved
Line the base and sides of your cake tin with baking paper and set aside. In a food processer, blend biscuits until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add melted butter and blend on pulse setting until mix is combined. Pour base mix into cake tin and using your fingers press down mix evenly to cover the base of the tin and pop in fridge.
To make the filling, in a clean bowl put cream cheese, mascarpone and caster sugar and beat with electric beater until combined and sugar starts to break down, this will take 3 to 5 minutes. Next, add the lightly whipped cream and beat through until combined. Divide filling mix equally into 3 different bowls.
In bowl one fold through the chocolate until combined. In bowl two fold in cherries and about 1/3 cup of juice and leave last bowl plain. To create the marble effect for the filling, place a couple of spoonfuls of chocolate filling on biscuit base followed by a couple of cherry filling and vanilla, randomly dotting them around. Do this until all the filling mix in is your tin.
Use a knife to gently cut through filling to create the swirls and marble effect. Using a spatula smooth over the top and pop in fridge for 3 to 4 hours or until set.
To serve: Remove from the tin and top with fresh or tinned cherries.
Tip: Another winning combination is strawberry and milk chocolate. Just substitute with cherries and dark chocolate.
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