Until last week, the joys of a warm cheesecake were unbeknownst to me. With my ever present soft-spot for the previously cool but always creamy dessert, I would help myself to a rather generous wedge accompanied by a spoonful, or two, of strawberries in a sugar syrup. For my palate this was a bit too sweet, so I forfeited the syrup for purple grapes, already naturally sweet, crusted in a bit of crunchy sugar. This variety of cheesecake is typical of New York and is combined with the British/Australian tradition of using a crushed biscuit base. The first recipe for cheesecake is thought to date back to the Ancient Greek times but I have both William Lawrence and James Kraft to thank for developing and refining the unripened cheese, also known as cream cheese, in the late 19th – early 20th century. Philadelphia cream cheese is used in most cheesecakes, including the recipe below, and is essential in creating the light yet rich texture characteristic in the best slices.
Feasting on Art has clip in the October 2010 issue of Virgin Blue Voyeur, click here to view.
Henri Fantin-Latour, Still Life with Grapes and a Carnation, c.1880
oil on canvas, 30.5 x 47 cm, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.