Food bytes “Dessert storm in New York” in Sunday Standard by Monish Gujral
Posted on 07. Jul, 2011 by motimahal in Uncategorized
Dessert storm in New York
Monish Gujral Last Updated : 01 Jul 2011 12:28:37 PM IST
One of the main reasons I go to New York year after year is my undying love for its cheesecake, besides accompanying my wife for her shopping spree on 5th Avenue.
Little does she know how I wait for the after-prize in the night. Now don’t get me wrong. I mean, after trolling besides her all day long, doing hard labour with her bags of shopping, only dreaming of a big bite into the mouth-watering New York cheesecake.
Nearly all the casual diners and delicatessens on the roads or on the 7th Avenue have their windows dressed with beautiful and inviting varieties of the cheesecakes— the dark and white chocolate ones, strawberry cheesecake to blueberry and the classic New York baked cheesecakes.
What is a cheesecake ?
It is a dessert made of soft and fresh cream cheese on a base of a biscuit or a crusty pastry or a sponger. Sweetened with sugar, it is topped or garnished with exotic fruits, nuts or chocolate drizzle or shavings.
Cheesecake is believed to have originated in ancient Greece. Many historians believe that it used to be served to athletes during the first Olympic Games held in 776 B.C.
The Romans adopted it, following the conquest of Greece, into their menu .
In 1872, William Lawrence from Chester, NY, along with some other dairymen, accidently discovered the way of making an “unripened cheese” that is heavier and creamier, while actually looking for a way to make the soft, French cheese. He sold this cheese rolled up in a silver foil, now commonly known as Philadelphia cheese, one of the ingredients to make cheesecake. Later in 1912, James Kraft invented a pasteurised form of this cream cheese, now one of the most commonly used cheese for cheesecake.
The quality of cheesecake depends upon the quality and freshness of the cream cheese used. Cheesecake can be categorised broadly into two—baked or unbaked—although, they are also regional. So the styles may vary from region to region and country to country depending upon the cultures, tastes and availability of the raw materials.
In the US alone, there are numerous varieties of this all-time favourite dessert such as New York style, made from heavy cream and eggs to make it creamy and with smooth consistency; sour cream cheesecakes made from sour cream which makes it more resilient to freezing (that is how most frozen cheesecakes are made); cottage cheese and lemon cheesecakes, known for its distinct flavour and texture; Philadelphia cheesecake uses tangy cheese with larger curds and less water content called the Farmers cheese; Pennsylvania Dutch cheesecake uses the ingredients which make it lighter in texture but richer in flavours; and lactose-free cheese cakes made from lactose-free cream or imitations with vegan recipes.
A special recipe of love celebrated all the world-over with equal passion, this dessert is so popular in the US that unofficially, July 30 is celebrated as National Cheesecake Day.
British, Irish, Australian and New Zealand
In the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, cheesecake is typically made with a base of crushed, buttered biscotti and often topped with fruit mixes—the most commonly used are blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, raspberry and lemon curd.
German-style cheesecake (Käsekuchen, Quarkkuchen, Matzkuchen; Topfenkuchen in Austria) is made with Quark cheese (made from sour milk); Käsesahnetorte (cheese cream Tart) is made from cream and is not baked. Germany is famous for its unique, mouth-watering cheesecake recipes with a bit of sweet and sour taste, said to “melt in your mouth”. Quark is used for the famous German or Bavarian baked cheesecake.
Bulgarian cheesecake uses fresh cream cheese in a New York-style filling and smetana (a dairy product made from souring heavy cream) for the top layer, and mostly ground nuts are added to the crust mixture.
Italian: Ancient Roman style cheesecake recipes are mostly made with honey and Ricotta cheese, sugar, vanilla extract along with flour and shaped into loaves.
French cheesecakes are very light, and use Neufchatel cheese, and gelatin for firming.
Greek-style cheesecake is made from Mizithra cheese (a traditional, unpasteurised cheese made with milk and whey from sheep or goat’s milk in the ratio of 7:3). Called Tiropita, it’s made with layers of buttered phyllo and filled with a cheese-egg mixture. But in some varieties, they often use thick pastry or puff pastry also.
Swedish cheesecake differs greatly from other varieties. It is not layered and is traditionally produced by adding rennet to milk and letting the casein coagulate. It is then baked and served warm. To avoid confusion with other cheesecakes, Swedish cheesecake is usually called Ostkaka.
Dutch/Belgian-style cheesecakes are typically flavoured with melted bittersweet chocolate. Belgian cheesecake also includes a specula (a traditional Belgian biscuit) crust.
Polish sernik (cheesecake), one of the most popular desserts in Poland, is primarily made using Twarog, a type of fresh cheese.
Latin American: Brazilian and Argentina cheesecakes are made using fruit marmalades such as Guava, strawberry etc.
Asian cheesecakes are light and spongy, and have flavours such as green tea, lychee and mango etc.
I am sure with such a journey into the dessert land you must be wanting to dig into one right away, without having to travel all the way to New York, trucking your wife’s shopping bags. So here we are with a simple 10- minute recipe which, I hope, will satisfy your taste buds.
1 cup cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup container sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup non-dairy whipped topping
1 (9-inch) biscuit pie crust
1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese until softened; gradually add sugar. Blend in sour cream and vanilla until well mixed. Gently fold in nondairy whipped topping, blending well.
Spoon into prepared crust pie and chill. Garnish with sliced strawberries.
Makes eight servings.
The writer is a well-known restaurateur and author of many cookbooks
Tags: BEST CHIAN OF INDIAN RESTAURANTS, Indian express, Links, MONISHGUJRAL, SUNDAYSTANDARD, WWW.MOTIMAHAL.IN