A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 22, 2004
Cheesecake
New York City did not invent the cheesecake (the German immigrants brought it over), but New York certainly perfected it.


6 October 1931, Syracuse (NY) Herald, pg. X, col. 5:
New York Cheese Cake
(...)
Chimes Pastry Shop
121-123 Onondaga Street
(Formerly Hageman's)

27 February 1932, Washington Post, pg. 10:
Several market stalls away from the New York cheese cake stands a stately pound cake - or several pound cakes - from Roanoke, Va.

22 November 1935, Washington Post, "Broadway" by Ed Sullivan, pg. 30:
Cheesecake Ike undoubtedly has eaten more cheesecake in Lindy's than any five New Yorkers.

27 February 1936, Washington Post, "Broadway" by Ed Sullivan, pg. 21:
My palate is aching for one of Reuben's sandwiches, the one he named after Anatole Friedland, although Anatole never eats it...And for dessert, a bundle of Lindy's cheese cake, though the last time I raised a fork there, it speared six song pluggers.

17 August 1936, Washington Post, "Broadway" by Ed Sullivan, pg. X14:
Arnold Reuben, who has made a fortune making sandwiches, is advised every night by patrons to make them differently...Customers tell Lindy how to make his cheese cake
26 January 1947, New York Times, pg. SM33:
Cheese Cake, Timely Dessert
(...)
Coming to us from Germany, the dish seems to have been popularized in restaurants in this country - in this city it's Reuben's that's known for it.

3 October 1948, Los Angeles Times, pg. G36:
Cheesecake
Here's the recipe for a Broadway favorite, held secret till now
by Clementine Paddletord
(...)
Lindy's Cheesecake
2 1/2 pounds cream cheese
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange rind
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
Pinch of vanilla bean (inside pulp) or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream
Combine cheese, sugar, flour, grated orange and lemon rind, and vanilla. Add eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, stirring lightly after each addition. Stir in cream.

Cookie Dough Mixture
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1.4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
Pinch vanilla bean (inside pulp)
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup butter
Combine flour, sugar, lemon rind and vanilla. Make a well in center and add egg yolk and butter. Work together quickly with hands until well blended. Wrap in waxed paper and chill thoroughly in refrigerator, about one hour. Rill our 1/8 inch thick and place over oiled bottom of 8-inch spring-form cake pan. Trim off the dough by running a rolling pin over sharp egde. Bake in hot oven (400 deg. F.) 20 minutes or until a light gold. Cool. Butter sides of cake form and place over base. Roll remaining fough 1/8 inch thick and cut to fit the sides of the oiled band. Fill form with cheese mixture and bake in very hot oven (550 deg. F.) 12 to 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to slow (200 deg. F.) and continue baking one hour. Let the cake cool for a t least two hours before cutting. Yield: 12 portions.

1 January 1971, New York Times, pg. 26:
Mr. Reuben closely guarded his cheesecake recipe as a trade secret, and became irked by prying customers.

JUNIOR'S

http://www.juniorscheesecake.com/
In 1950, Restaurant Founder Harry Rosen together with Master baker, Eigel Peterson, created and produced what is now known as the World's Most Fabulous Cheesecake. The recipe has been part of the Rosen family for three generations. Since the beginning, only three men have supervised the cheesecake production at Junior's. Even today, to ensure quality and consistency of the cheesecakes one man oversees the entire blending, mixing and baking process.

1970s
Junior's most fabulous cheesecake is rated #1 by New York Magazine. People start to flock to this Brooklyn landmark just for an award-winning slice.

D'AIUTO'S

http://www.newyorknewyorkcheesecake.com/aboutus/
New York New York Cheesecake® is the trademark and registered brand name of the "Creme de la Creme" of all cheesecakes.

Mario D'Aiuto, originator and creator of Baby Watson Cheesecake, now presents his new Triple Cream New York New York Cheesecake® exclusively for particular New Yorkers. Mario presides over every small batch mixed and freshly baked, every day.

New York New York Cheesecake® is not available in supermarkets. Distribution is limited to a select group of gourmet markets, including Garden of Eden, Amish Markets, Jefferson Market and of course, D'Aiuto's two retail shops.

Remember, cheesecake makes people happy.
And New York New York Cheesecake® is guaranteed to be
the Best Cheesecake on Earth.

(D'Aiuto's Pastry Corp., 405 6th Avenue - ed.)

SARA LEE

http://www.hup.harvard.edu/features/gabwea/timeline.html
1949
The Sara Lee baked goods company is founded; they soon develop a freezing technique to ship products such as their popular "New York cheesecake" (manufactured in the Midwest) throughout the country

FOOD TIMELINE

http://www.gti.net/mocolib1/kid/foodcakes.html
What makes if New York cheesecake?

"Say Cheesecake"
Q. I've heard that the recipe for cheesecake, that classic New York dessert, came here from Italy. A friend insists that it was "invented" here at the turn of the century. Care to get mixed up in this?

A. You're both at least partly correct. New York cheesecake, the kind made famous this century in restaurants like Reuben's, Lindy's and Junior's, is considered by some to be a dense, sweet, creamy adaptation of traditional Italian cakes made with curd or cottage cheese. Recipes for coarser, less sweet ricotta cakes like the Tuscan crostata di ricotta and the Neapolitan pastiera have been around for centuries, according to Matt Sartwell, a resident scholar at the Kitchen Arts and Letters store in Manhattan. In fact, the writings of Cato the Elder, the Roman statesman and moralist of the second century B.C., include a recipe for "savillum," a relatively simple honeyed ricotta cheesecake. But it wasn't until about 1872 that cheesecake baking as we know it in New York become practical and popular, according to "Cheesecake Madness" by John J. Segreto (1996, Biscuit Books). That was when William Lawrence of Chester, N.Y., accidentally developed a method of producing cream cheese while trying to duplicate the French Neufchatel. Soon after, a dairyman living in South Edmeston, N.Y., produced a particularly silky version for the Empire Cheese Company, which was later sold under the brand name Philadelphia Cream Cheese. "The New York-style cheesecake that we know depended on the development of this cheese," Mr. Sartwell said. He added that the graham cracker crust, another American innovation, would have been impossible before the cracker was introduced early this century.
---"Say Cheesecake," Daniel B. Schneider, New York Times, September 21, 1997 (p. CY2)


"Many nineteenth-century American cookery books do include recipes for cheesecake, beginning, as often as not, with the curdling of the milk with rennet. But the silky, cream-cheese cheesecake is something else again, a turn-of-the-century arriviste introduced, for the most part, by Jewish delicatessens in New York City. [Merle] Evans even traces the beginning of "the New York cheesecake saga" to the 1920s and attributes it to "an enterprising delicatessen owner, Arnold Reuben [who] opened a restaruant on 58th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues" at that time. Soon Reuben had rivals, among them Leonard's...Juniors...Lindy's, a Broadway restaurant...According to Molly O'Neill...the smooth, rich cheesecake served at Lindy's in the 1940s became the quintessential "New York Cheesecake," the one by which all others are judged."
---The American Century Cookbook, Jean Anderson [Clarkson Potter:New York] 1997 (p. 390)
Posted by Barry Popik
Food/Drink • (0) Comments • Sunday, August 22, 2004 • Permalink