Celebrate National Cheesecake Day
Sometimes when a person combines two things that are great seperate it makes a MASTERPIECE together. Other times the parts are greater than the whole. Case in point – in Portland, land of the wacky, Voodoo Donuts puts bacon on a maple bar. Maple bar. Good. Bacon. Good. Bacon maple bar = UH-MAZING!! The flip side of that is fruit cake. Sometimes the mixture of fruit and cake, in fruit cake, just don’t go together. Thankfully for this blog post, cheesecake is something that combines two items good separate, and better together!
Before I was asked to write this blog post, I didn’t know much about cheesecake – other than I LOVE it! So, instead of giving another recipe – of which there are plenty online – I thought I’d give a little history and the variations that make some of the most popular varieties; including how you can use Tillamook to add that little bit of, “MMM. That’s good. What did you do to make this so delicious?” to your favorite cheesecake recipe.
Believe it or not, cheesecake was first made 2,000 years ago in Greece. Even though Greeks had been making Cheesecake for centuries, the writer Athenaeus is credited with writing the first recipe in 230 A.D. It went through many iterations from both the Greeks and the Romans (when they conquered Greece) and in the 18th century started to look something like what we recognize and love today. The key difference? Using beaten eggs instead of yeast (can you imagine eating a cheesecake with yeast today? Yuk!).
Today, there are really two types of cheesecake: baked and unbaked. There are different schools of thought on this, but it is this writers opinion that a baked cheesecake is a little better – mainly set apart by the texture. An unbaked cheesecake takes on a little more pudding like texture that is more gelatinous whereas a baked cheesecake has a more heavy and dense texture – similar to a regular cake – as well as a slightly more developed flavor.
Along with the baked vs. unbaked discussion, there are differing schools of thought about what type of dairy product to use in your cheesecake. Depending on what part of the world you live in, you may have a different opinion of what cheesecake should be. Just look at a few examples from around the world:
- New York – Cream Cheese (and some use sour cream to add a slight tang and rich, dense flavor)
- Chicago – Cream Cheese. But the key ingredient – Tillamook Sour Cream (well, it wasn’t originally Tillamook, but we all know that makes the best cheesecake!)
- Italy – Ricotta
- Greek – Mizithra or Feta
- Germans – Cottage Cheese
- Japan – Cornstarch and egg whites
So, with all of these different types of cheeses (or, in Japan’s case, no cheese at all) that can be used to make the perfect cheesecake, why would you choose one over the other? For me, like all other food choices, it comes down to personal preference. I personally prefer a plain cheesecake, without berries or chocolate to get in the way, and a very creamy dense texture. So, for me a New York or Chicago cheesecake is the most appetizing. Maybe it’s the Sour Cream that sets it apart. If you use Tillamook Natural Sour Cream I can guarantee it will be!
So, all this is to say that it is about time to celebrate cheesecake in all of its glory. It’s been 2,000 years in the making. To that end, how will you celebrate National Cheesecake Day? Will you make your own cheesecake? Go to your favorite cheesecake restaurant? Or will you – like I will – just dream of cheesecake because you’re on a diet (my diet is always getting in the way!). Let us know what your favorite, or most creative cheesecake recipe is. Does anybody use Tillamook Cheddar in their cheesecake?