This has been a ‘serious’ blog to date, in the sense that the first three Posts have dealt with important issues in the energy-water space. As a break in routine my fourth blog will offer a cheesecake recipe that should not be lost to history, both for its deliciousness and its ease of making.
The recipe came to my attention in 1964, while I was in graduate school, when I attended a reception at which I was first exposed to ‘Fiore’s cheesecake’. I was so taken with the taste that I asked Mrs. Fiore for the recipe, which she refused to give me. A bit (actually, a lot) taken aback, never having been turned down before by a complimented food provider, I figured that was that and reluctantly accepted the result. To my surprise, about a year later, Mrs. Fiore found me in the physics laboratory at Brown University and handed me the recipe, explaining that she was moving from Providence and no longer felt the need to protect ‘her recipe’. I accepted gratefully and have been making this wonderful Italian cheesecake ever since. For more than thirty years I cheerfully shared the recipe with the name ‘Fiore’s Cheesecake’ but finally decided to take ownership under my own name a few years ago. Mrs. Fiore, please forgive me!
One other piece of history. When I worked at the National Academy of Sciences I had a colleague who heard me mention my favorite cheesecake recipe and he challenged me to a contest – his chocolate cheesecake vs. mine. We held a bake-off judged by several of our NAS colleagues and you can guess who won. The activity then became an annual NAS event, with thirteen cheesecakes offered the following year. As the winner of the first contest and therefore a judge in the second, I had to sample each cheesecake twice and spent the rest of the day on a ‘sugar high’.
The recipe, which also became a favorite of my staff at DOE, is shown below. It is easy to make (no crust) and I’ve never had a bad one. It is also tolerant of substitutes to reduce the fat and calorie metrics – e.g., low-fat ricotta cheese, zero fat sour cream,… and now even a substitute for sugar that is not destroyed by baking. Being a cheesecake purist I don’t cover my portions with fruit pie fillings such as cherry and blueberry, but others do – ‘chacun a son gout’ as the French say.
Hoffman’s Cheesecake Recipe
Equipment needed: 9″ or 10” spring form pan, large mixing bowl, mixing spoon, measuring cups, ….
1 pound cream cheese
1 pound Ricotta cheese
1 pint sour cream
3 Tablespoons flour
3 Tablespoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ pound melted butter
one and a half cups sugar
Mix cheeses well (I usually heat the cream cheese a bit in the microwave to soften it before mixing)
Add sour cream – mix well
Add 4 eggs – mix well
Add flour, baking powder, vanilla – mix well
Add melted butter and sugar – mix well
Add mixture to greased spring form pan (I usually use olive oil spray) and bake at 325F for one hour. Turn off heat and leave in oven one more hour. Place in refrigerator to cool – I find that it tastes better after cooling; I usually leave it in the fridge overnight (or in a cold garage).
One other comment: I usually make two at a time – amount of work about the same as making just one, but it does require two pans.