Quick Recipes and Easy

History Of The New York Cheesecake Recipe

Cheesecake in its present form is a relatively “young” culinary invention, but cheesecake itself goes back for centuries. With the natural sweetness of young cheese, it was natural that it wouldn’t take long before some smart cookie started playing around with it in desserts.

All the way back in Roman times, in the first century A.D., there was a sweet cake often used as a temple offering called libum. See if the ingredients sound a small familiar: cheese, flour, eggs and occasionally honey. Culinarily, that’s not all that terribly far from what we know today, although the libum was designed to be cooked wrapped in leaves in a fire. That’s a few steps removed from a Viking oven with electronic temperature control.

When the Romans invaded most of Europe and part of Asia, they brought their foods with them, including libum. The genius of the libum recipe is that it’s made of ingredients that are available in nearly every culture. It’s also very simple, so even the most inexperienced or illiterate (as most were back then) cook can do it with a honestly high chance of success. Another benefit to its simplicity is that it’s open to interpretation, and one look at the vast array of modern cheesecake varieties will tell you that has happened in a huge way.

Cheesecake in New York, as with any food discovery traced back to the early 20th Century, is claimed by numerous people and restaurants. The most well loved candidate, but, is Arnold Reuben, who owned the now-legendary Turf Restaurant in New York City. He claimed the New York cheesecake was a family recipe, and his claim deserves legitimacy if only for the number of people who were introduced to the wonders of its simple flavors at the restaurant.

Wherever the New York cheesecake recipe came from, and whatever person or family we have to thank for it, it has become a landmark on our culinary landscape and one of the cornerstones of what we now call American cuisine.

Andrew Krause is a Chef and Pastry Chef for over 30 years, at present I am retired, I owned a Gourmet Bakery called The Cheese Confectioner. You can visit my site at andies.cashhosters2.com andies.cashhosters2.com

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