Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Difficulty: Easy
Deliciousness: Zero slices out of five
Never again will I make a new recipe on a loved one’s birthday. What the hell was I thinking? Not sure if it was me or the recipe but this cheesecake was no good. I didn’t finish my slice, and I wasn’t the only one. I’m going to provide some guesses as to what went wrong and then talk about cheesecakes, which after a little research I feel should New York’s official dessert-if that’s a thing.

This week I made another cheesecake, but unlike last week’s pumpkin cheesecake- it sucked- There I said it! It was such a letdown. Addint insult to injury I made it for my fiances birthday cake and I felt really bad about it. Chocolate and peanut butter made into a cheesecake, what could go wrong?  It didn’t taste as sweet as I expected. I think the reason may be that I used natural peanut butter without all the delicious additives in regular peanut butter.

I feel like there’s not much to say other than it was bad and I won’t try this recipe again, which is disappointing because it came from another baking blog. I felt optomistic, but now that I compare that recipe to one from Hershey’s I think the big difference is that the their recipe calls for peanut butter chips instead of peanut butter. I bet, the chips would make it sweeter.

In my internet research, trying to understand why this cake was such a flop, I learned some interesting stuff about cheesecakes, mainly from  What’s cooking America. Who knew, that for as long as there has been cheese, we have tried to make it into cakes.  Picture toga clad ancient Greeks and Romans baking early versions of these cakes, which they unfortunately called placentas, meaning “flat cake” to them and other stuff now days.

Modern cheese cakes are made with several kinds of soft cheese, namely, ricotta, cottage, cream  or Neufchatel cheese.  I have a bit of a cheese obsession, because I research fungi and food, but really, in this story cheese is intersting and super important. Enterprising New Yorkers in the late 19th century were trying to replicate the process of making Neufchatel-en-Bray cheese, which is an old and delicious speadable French cheese. They added cream, which not found in the original recipe, and viola cream cheese was born. In the early 1900’s was packaged and sold as Philidephia cream cheese. Cream cheese is now the standard substitution in the U.S. for recipes that call for Neufchatel.

There are several versions of American cheese cheesecakes, specific to different regions. I’ve been adding sour cream, which is common in the midwest. Here in the Empire State, New York style cheesecakes are smooth from an added yoke and without toppings; we keep it simple but delicious. European imigrants brought this cake with them and at the turn of the 20th century they began making cheesecakes with new-fangled cream cheese. The rest as they say is delicious histroy.  New York invented cream cheese –sorry Philidelphia– and it’s iconic of New York City, which is why it should be the official New York State dessert.



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