July 30th is National Cheesecake Day, so we’re publishing a few new recipes from Philadelphia Cream Cheese—the originator of the celestial cream cheese cake.
We’ll never forget our first slice of chocolate peanut butter cheesecake, some fifteen years ago at a Cheesecake Factory restaurant.
The slice was huge, no one wanted to split it with us, and—you guessed it—we ate the whole thing.
While we’re a champion cheesecake eater, the richness of the chocolate and the peanut butter did us in for the rest of the evening, and we haven’t had chocolate peanut butter cheesecake since.
Until now. Make this recipe from Philadelphia Cream Cheese and then protect your impulses by:
Chocolate peanut butter cheesecake: A small slice satisfies. Photo courtesy Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
RECIPE: CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CHEESECAKE
Garnish with mini peanut butter cups. Photo
courtesy Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
1. PREHEAT oven to 325°F.
2. MIX graham crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar and butter. Press onto bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
3. BEAT cream cheese, peanut butter and remaining sugar with mixer until blended. Add sour cream and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each, just until blended.
4. TRANSFER three cups batter to a medium bowl; stir in melted chocolate. Pour over crust. Refrigerate remaining batter until 30 minutes into baking.
5. BAKE first layer for 30 minutes; then gently spoon remaining batter over partially baked layer. Continue to bake for a total of 1 hour or until center is almost set.
6. REMOVE from oven and run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake. Cool before removing rim. Refrigerate for four hours. Garnish and serve.
CHEESECAKE BAKING TIPS FROM PHILADELPHIA CREAM CHEESE
Cheesecake dates all the way back to ancient Greece: Historians believe that a type of cheesecake was served to athletes during the first Olympic Games in 776 B.C.E. What type of cheesecake it was, and whether it was sweet or savory, is not known; but savory is a good guess.
More than 500 years later, in De re Rustica (“On Agriculture”), the Roman statesman Marcus Porcius Cato (Cato the Elder) described making cheesecake. De re Rustica is the oldest known book of Roman prose; vis-à-vis the printed record, the cheesecake had arrived.
Cheesecake—made with different fresh cheeses—traveled throughout Europe with the peripatetic Romans. But the history of modern cheesecake begins in 1872, when a dairyman named William Lawrence invented modern cream cheese in Chester, New York. It was a happy accident: Chester was trying to make Neufchâtel cheese*, a soft French cheese.
With bricks of cheese wrapped in foil, Lawrence’s Empire Company began to distribute cream cheese in 1880. He called the product Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese. At the time, Philadelphia was known for its fine cuisine; “Philadelphia” implied “gourmet.”
In 1903, the Phoenix Cheese Company of New York bought the Empire Company and Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese. In 1928, the Kraft Cheese Company bought the brand, which it owns to this day.
And where would be without it? Imagine all those lonely bagels!
*American Neufchâtel cheese is different from French Neufchâtel; the latter is a mold-ripened cheese similar to Camembert. American Neufchâtel has approximately 33% lower fat than cream cheese and a higher moisture content. It was long sold as a reduced-fat option to cream cheese. Philadelphia’s reduced fat cream cheese, however, is far superior to any American Neufchâtel we’ve had.