Happy National Cheesecake Day!

Happy National Cheesecake Day! While not many people we know care for cheesecake, a good cheesecake, such as the Cheesecake Factory’s Banana Cream Cheesecake and the Devil’s Food Cheesecake at Junior’s in New York City, is hard to resist.

Thought to have originated in ancient Greece on the Island of Samos over 4,000 years ago, cheesecake was considered a good source of energy – consisting of flour, wheat, honey and cheese – that was supposedly served to athletes during the first Olympic games in 776 BC (it was also the wedding cake of choice for Greek brides and grooms).

Later, after conquering Greece, Rome gave cheesecake its own unique spin by adding eggs and ricotta cheese (absolutely delicious!), which quickly spread throughout Europe and eventually made its way to America.

In 1872, a New York dairy farmer tried to replicate the French cheese “Neufchatel” and ended up with what became Philadelphia Cream Cheese in 1875. And Arnold Reuben, best known for his Reuben sandwiches, is credited with inventing the New York style cheesecake, which is always served plain, unaccompanied by fruit, chocolate or caramel that you might find with other cheesecakes (it is said to get its flavor from extra egg yolks).

Now, it’s time to enjoy some cheesecake! Try the recipe for blueberry cheesecake and raspberry cheesecake below.

Please note the above information was taken from this site, which you can also use to purchase cheesecakes.

Blueberry cheesecake recipe

Cheesecake With Fresh Blueberry Sauce (taken from Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Cookbook)

Ingredients for the crust:
1 & 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 tbsp. ground almonds or walnuts
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground lemon peel
1/2 cup melted butter

Ingredients for the filling:
1 & 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon rind
4 eggs

Ingredients for the topping:
1 pint ice-cold sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
cinnamon

Instructions:
Combine crumbs, nuts, sugar, lemon peel; stir in butter until thoroughly blended. Press mixture firmly against bottom of 9″ springform pan. Bake in 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes.

In large bowl, beat cheese until creamy. At medium speed add sugar gradually, then vanilla, lemon juice and rind and blend well. Add eggs one at a time, and beat at medium speed for 10 minutes, until fluffy. Pour into pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes. Turn off heat and cool for 30 minutes in oven with door open.

Combine sour cream, sugar and vanilla and whip for 10 minutes until foamy. Spoon over top of cake. Bake in 250 degree F oven for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Cool and then refrigerate for 2 hours or more before unmolding. Serve with fresh blueberry sauce or fresh sliced strawberries and whipped cream.

You can also try:

Barefoot Contessa’s Raspberry Cheesecake

She writes:
“For me, this is the quintessential cheesecake. It’s creamy but light with vanilla and lemon undertones. Amazingly, it doesn’t crack in the middle like every other cheesecake I’ve ever made, so it looks great if you serve it alone.”

Ingredients for the crust:
1 & 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted

Ingredients for the filling:
2 & 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temp.
1 & 1/2 cups sugar
5 whole extra-large eggs, room temp.
2 extra-large egg yolks, room temp.
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1 & 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Ingredients for the topping (optional):
1 cup red jelly (not jam) as currant, raspberry, or strawberry
3 half-pints fresh raspberries

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the crust, combine the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter until moistened. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1 inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees.

To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of mixer to medium and add the eggs and egg yolks, two at a time, mixing well. Add the sour cream, lemon zest and vanilla and mix on low. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.

Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and open the door wide. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2-3 hours. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the spring-form pan for serving.

If you make the topping, melt the jelly in a small pan over low heat. In a bowl, toss the raspberries and the warm jelly gently until well iced. Arrange the berries on top of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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