Cheesecake is loved around the world. Almost every culture has cheese, and therefore almost every culture has its own version of cheesecake. Personally, I love cheesecake and have done quite a few on the blog. In my pursuit of cheesecake nirvana, I’m always doing taste tests and experimentation. While at the Manassas Farmers Market, I came across a new vendor, The OBRADOR Spanish -Heart Bakery, with a Basque cheesecake which I’ll talk about later. My real purpose here is to look at some of the more famous cheesecake styles around the country.
New York style- Arnold Ruben is credited with inventing the New York cheesecake using cream cheese instead of cottage cheese. (There must not have been room on Mt. Rushmore because those guys’ accomplishments pale in comparison.) This made for a smooth, airy cheesecake that took the city by storm. It is said he invented it, but a restaurant called Juniors perfected it. You can get it shipped frozen to your home. Lindys would argue that they are the best; I have had theirs, and it’s awfully good.
Detroit – This was made popular at the Susie Q restaurant and full disclosure, my mom managed there for many years. This was a more dense cheesecake and was unique because it has cream of wheat in the filling. (Yes, cream of wheat. I didn’t stutter.) I may have grown up on it, but people came from miles around to get some. There is a Susie Q recipe on this blog. It was kept alive at Duggan’s Irish Pub in Berkeley, Michigan I was told.
Ricotta pie – This is a uniquely Boston dish. It’s origins are Italian (the ricotta is a tip off here). Its texture is more in line with a cottage cheese pie and makes use of the local maple syrup from Vermont. The origins of this date back to the Italian North end of Boston. There is a recipe of my take on this on this blog.
California cheesecake – Ok, they started putting in strawberries and lemon zest which means the cheesecake must not be able to stand on its own. I looked at three recipes and found nothing notable.
Chicago – This is much like a New York cheesecake, just a little sweeter. Rumor has it that Eli’s Cheesecake is the best.
Basque – This is a new discovery for me; I found it at the Manassas Farmers Market at Spanish-Heart Bakery. It is very creamy and has no crust, which I like. The unique part is the burnt edges which give the cake a bitter counter note to the sweetness.