“The first “cheese cake” was produced on the beautiful Greek island of Samos. Physical anthropologists excavated cheese moulds there dating from about 2,000 B.C. Most certainly, for thousands of years before this, cheese and cheese items have been around, but before this goes into prehistory (that time before the advent of writing in human history), we will never really know. In Greece, cheesecake was known as a good source of energy, and there is evidence that during the first Olympics in 776 B.C. Athletes were served it. Greek brides and grooms were also aware of the use of cheesecake as a wedding cake. From the simple ingredients of flour, wheat, honey and cheese, the original ‘cheese cake’ was made.
In 230 A.D., the Greek author Athenaeus is credited with writing the first Greek cheesecake recipe. The cheese cake was very simple – pound the cheese until it is smooth and pasty – mix the pounded cheese in a brass pan with honey and spring wheat flour – heat the cheese cakes (By this period, the Greeks had served cheesecake for over 2,000 years, but this is the oldest known surviving Greek recipe!)
When the Romans chenged cheesecake they included crushed cheese and eggs. The ingredients were baked and the delicious cake was served warm under a hot brick. The Romans would sometimes insert the cheese filling into a pastry. The Romans called their cheese cake “libuma” and, on special occasions, they served it. In the first century B.C., Marcus Cato, a Roman politician, is credited as recording the oldest known cheesecake.
BAKLAVA CHEESECAKE RECIPE
- 1 12-ounce package sugar cookies, finely crumbled
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 15 sheets Krinos 9″ x 14″ Fillo Dough, thawed
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup, heated
- To prepare crust, combine cookie crumbs and butter with fork. Press crumbs on bottom and up sides of 9″ springform pan.
- To prepare cheesecake, in large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar on high speed for about 10 minutes until fluffy. Add lemon juice, vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Beat until smooth. Pour into springform pan.
- To prepare baklava, combine walnuts, sugar, butter and cinnamon in bowl.
- To cut fillo sheets into 9″ rounds, cut a pattern out of wax paper that is 9″ round, and fold in half. Fold 15 fillo sheets in half so short ends meet. Place the straight edge of the wax paper round on the folded edge of the fillo. Cut the fillo following the pattern. Layer and butter 5 sheets and place on cheesecake filling. Spread the walnut mixture over the fillo. Layer and butter another 5 sheets of fillo including top layer and place on top of walnut mixture. Layer and butter another 5 sheets, lightly score into 10 equal sections without cutting all the way to center or outer edge. Place on top of cheesecake. Trim fillo rounds to fit pan, if needed.
- Bake in preheated 325°F oven for 1 1/2 hours or until golden brown. Slowly spoon warm syrup over cheesecake to avoid runoff. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours before slicing.