White Chocolate Cheesecake from Scratch

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Thanks Philadelphia Cream Cheese!


March 6th is National White Chocolate Cheesecake Day.  Clearly this celebratory occasion was created by someone who was crazy about cheesecake!  We love a good cheesecake, in fact, we had a delicious cookies and cream cheesecake today for lunch with a friend.  But today is about the divine combination of cream cheese and white chocolate.

Where Did Cheesecake Originate?

A little research turned up a really informative article on the history of cheesecake on the website, cheesecake.com.  Thanks for the great info, guys!

The first “cheese cake” may have been created on the Greek island of Samos. In Greece, cheesecake was considered to be a good source of energy, and there is evidence that it was served to athletes during the first Olympic games in 776 B.C. Greek brides and grooms were also known to use cheesecake as a wedding cake. The simple ingredients of flour, wheat, honey and cheese were formed into a cake and baked – a far cry from the more complicated recipes available today!  The writer Athenaeus is credited for writing the first Greek cheesecake recipe in 230 A.D. By this time, the Greeks had been serving cheesecake for over 2,000 years but this is the oldest known surviving Greek recipe.

When the Romans conquered Greece, the cheesecake recipe was just one spoil of war. They modified it including crushed cheese and eggs. These ingredients were baked under a hot brick and it was served warm. Occasionally, the Romans would put the cheese filling in a pastry. The Romans called their cheese cake “libuma” and they served it on special occasions. Marcus Cato, a Roman politician in the first century B.C., is credited as recording the oldest known Roman cheesecake recipe.

As the Romans expanded their empire, they brought cheesecake recipes to the Europeans. Great Britain and Eastern Europe began experimenting with ways to put their own unique spin on cheesecake. In each country of Europe, the recipes started taking on different cultural shapes, using ingredients native to each region. In 1545, the first cookbook was printed. It described the cheesecake as a flour-based sweet food. Even Henry VIII’s chef did his part to shape the cheesecake recipe. Apparently, his chef cut up cheese into very small pieces and soaked those pieces in milk for three hours. Then, he strained the mixture and added eggs, butter and sugar.

It was not until the 18th century, however, that cheesecake would start to look like something we recognize in the United States today. Around this time, Europeans began to use beaten eggs instead of yeast to make their breads and cakes rise. Removing the overpowering yeast flavor made cheesecake taste more like a dessert treat. When Europeans immigrated to America, some brought their cheesecake recipes along.

Finally the Cream Cheese!

Cream cheese was an American addition to the cake, and it has since become a staple ingredient in the United States. In 1872, a New York dairy farmer was attempting to replicate the French cheese Neufchatel. Instead, he accidentally discovered a process which resulted in the creation of cream cheese. Three years later, cream cheese was packaged in foil and distributed to local stores under the Philadelphia Cream Cheese brand. The Philadelphia Cream Cheese brand was purchased in 1903 by the Phoenix Cheese Company, and then it was purchased in 1928 by the Kraft Cheese Company. Kraft continues to make this very same delicious Philadelphia Cream Cheese that we are all familiar with today.

Cheesecake Around the World

Each region of the world also has its own take on the best way to make the dessert. Italians use ricotta cheese, while the Greeks use  feta. Germans prefer cottage cheese, while the Japanese use a combination of cornstarch and egg whites. There are specialty cheesecakes that include blue cheese, seafood, spicy chilies and even tofu! In spite of all the variations, the popular dessert’s main ingredients – cheese, wheat and a sweetener –remain the same.


No matter how you slice it, cheesecake is truly a dessert that has stood the test of time. From its earliest recorded beginnings on Samos over 4,000 years ago to its current iconic status around the world this creamy cake remains a favorite for sweet tooths of all ages.

Lemony White Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe

Ingredients

Crust:

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

½ cup cold butter, cubed

 Filling:

 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1 ¼ cups sugar

10 ounces white baking chocolate, melted and cooled

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 eggs, lightly beaten

Directions

Place a 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan; set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar and peel; cut in butter until crumbly. Press onto the bottom and 1 in. up the sides of prepared pan. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 325° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the white chocolate, flour, cream, lemon juice, lemon peel and vanilla. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour into crust.

Place pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan. Bake at 325° for 65-85 minutes or until center is just set and top appears dull.

Remove pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan.

Yield: 12 servings.

Photo courtesy of elicheesecake.com

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tags: , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply