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The cheesecake all around the world


Cheesecake is all around the world

Some desserts are very hard to resist and one of the most popular sources of temptation is the cheesecake. It's a food item that has crossed boundaries and different cultures, becoming part of the menu all over the world. There are numerous versions of recipes and different, regional traditions.

Crust and filling

Whether store bought, homemade or restaurant fare, the cheesecake is a taste sensation. The crust is commonly made from pastry, cookie or graham cracker-crumb. A digestive biscuit base is popular in the UK. The classic filling is made from eggs, cream and some type of soft fat that is normally cream cheese.

Flavor and topping

It is the kind of cheese that gives the dessert its distinctive flavor and texture. Other ingredients may include sugar or fruit. There are several fruit toppings to be found, including strawberries, raspberries, pineapple, blueberries, cherries, bananas and black forest. Some Asian varieties include mangos, the dessert being a particular favorite in Japan, where it is sold in vending machines. Chocolate or vanilla flavoring may also be added to give an extra richness.

Type of cheese

The choice of cheese rather depends on the culinary traditions of the region. The most typical is cream cheese but ricotta, havarti, quark and twarog are also used in cheesecake. Americans prefer to use cream cheese, usually in the form of Philadelphia cream cheese. The New York style cheesecake, as it came to be known, is rich with lots of cream and eggs. Sometimes, this is augmented by lemon and cottage cheese.

Cheese all around the world

In Italy, there are two main recipes. The old fashioned Roman version uses honey and ricotta cheese and is shaped into loaves. The modern recipe also calls for ricotta but may use mascarpone. Vanilla extract and candied fruit is sometimes added. Greek versions also use mascarpone or mizithra. French recipes contain Neufchatel cheese and the texture is unusually light. German varieties contain quark cheese, a soft, white curd cheese that is common in Baltic countries, Germany and Poland. Dutch and Belgian versions are deliciously flavored with melted chocolate.

Vegetarians and vegans "cheese"cake

The combination of sweet and tangy flavors are almost always served as a dessert but there are savory versions, commonly using blue cheese. The savory variety can be a starter or served with salad. Vegetarians and vegans can still enjoy the delights of cheesecake. Vegan recipes most often substitute tofu for the cream cheese and vegan graham crackers or granola for the crust. The variations to be found with this dessert are almost endless.

So no reason why you can't enjoy one slice today.
Published: 2007-09-19
Author: Isabelle Chartrand

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