You've seen the debates rage on Twitter and Facebook. Is a hot dog a sandwich? Is cereal just soup? Here's the newest one to grace the internet: Is cheesecake actually a cake? Or is it a... pie? What a sweet dilemma we've got on our hands.
The dessert is mainly a mixture of a soft cheeses like cottage cheese, cream cheese, ricotta, or neufchatel plus sour cream or heavy cream. The cheese is blended with eggs and sugar before being poured into a crust-filled pie pan or springform pan. Although cheesecakes are typically made with a graham cracker crust, you can actually use any crushed cookie or wafer--even Oreos! As some prefer their cheesecake with no crust at all, it's not unheard of to use a pastry shell instead. Cheesecake are typically baked to allow the cheese to set, but there are also no bake styles of cheesecakes
Cheesecake may be sweetened with vanilla extract, cinnamon, lemon, chocolate, pumpkin, or even peanut butter flavors. The top of this dessert might be topped with fruit, whipped cream, pecans, almonds, or walnuts, cookies, fruit sauce, chocolate syrup, or really anything that sounds good to the lucky cheesecake eater.
New York Style cheesecake, is very dense with more heavy cream cheese and a crumbly crust made of graham cracker crumbs.However, Italian Style cheesecake is fluffier and lighter with Ricotta cheese as the main ingredient.
Many desserts with similar shapes and consistencies are termed pies, such as lemon meringue pie, key lime pie, and pumpkin pie. So what makes cheesecake different?
So, Is Cheesecake A Pie?!
The culinary classification of modern cheesecake is not still not a concrete answer. It's not classified as an actual "cake," despite the name. Some say it's a torte because of the eggs which are the only leavening agent. Others shout "custard pie!" based on the overall structure, with the separate crust, the soft filling, and because it's easily made without flour. And then we still have the flan crowd and the non-committal group who firmly believe cheesecake is its "own thing." In fact, according to the Food Lover's Companion, cheesecake is more of a catch-all term to describe "a lucious, rich dessert," because "the texture of any cheesecake can vary widely."
According to Wikipedia, the name "cheesecake" has been used only since the 15th century and the cheesecake did not evolve into its modern form until somewhere around the 18th century. Europeans began removing yeast and adding beaten eggs to the cheesecake instead. Early 19th-century cheesecake recipes were made with cheese curd and butter. And listen to these classy flavor options...currants, brandy, raisin wine, nutmeg and orange flower water! We are like heathens with our Oreos and Snickerdoodles.
Modern cheesecake comes in two different types. Along with the baked cheesecake, there's an American invention made with uncooked cream cheese on a brown sugar sweetened graham cracker base. That's the no-bake cheesecake.