Bake / Cook / Dessert

Cheesecake Showdown

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For my brother-in-law, James’ recent birthday I was tasked with the honor of birthday cake bringer. James luuuuuuvs cheesecake so I set out on a mission…

Cheesecake, in its many and varied forms has existed pretty much since man first made cheese. After all…cheese AND pie. Right???? I’ll admit it – I’m hard to impress with cheesecake. The Jell-o no bake is just, well, Jell-o. I knew the first step in my quest had to be to contact my friend Judi – an awesome wife, mother, grandmother, artist and, of course, cook! I remembered the cheesecake she made for her husband Barry’s birthday some years back and I knew I had to have that recipe.

Judi was happy to accommodate and even shared a really cool back story with me about the recipe. After college, Barry worked for Hallmark Cards for a few years. One of his accounts was Valona Pharmacy at 2nd and Pamona in Crockett, CA (now a Cary’s Design location). Valona’s Pharmacy owner, Jan gave the recipe to Judi and told her it was from Lindy’s in New York. I decided to do a little research myself on just how this delicious cheesecake came about.

The immediate thing I note on the internet in all of the Lindy’s “copycat” recipes is that none of them call for cottage cheese and the one Judi has does. Interesting. Why would that be? It turns out that a German-Jewish immigrant, Arnold Reuben, who is largely credited with the modern-day popularization of cheesecake, first tasted “cheese pie” at a dinner party. He asked the hostess for the recipe and proceeded to play with the ingredients, substituting cream cheese for cottage cheese. Ah ha! So maybe I hold the first original Lindy’s recipe?

So I decided to have not just cheesecake for James birthday but a full-on cheesecake showdown. The Lindy’s recipe versus a recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook Volume 1 from 1962. Lucky for me both cakes came out nearly identical in appearance. I decorated both of them the same and let the party-goers judge which they liked best. I added a few sauces for the non-purists: chocolate sauce, caramel sauce and cherry pie filling.

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Lindy’s New York Cheesecake Recipe

½ c. graham cracker crumbs
1 pound cream cheese softened
1 pound cottage cheese (I used some organic medium curd)
1 ½ cups sugar
4 eggs slightly beaten
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons flour
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup butter or margarine melted
1 pint dairy sour cream

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Liberally grease a 9 inch springform pan. Press crumbs evenly over bottom and up side of pan.
  2. In large bowl of electric mixer, at high speed, beat cream cheese and cottage cheese until creamy and well combined. Gradually beat in sugar; then beat in eggs until well combined.
  3. At low speed, beat in cornstarch, flour, lemon juice, and vanilla. Add melted butter and sour cream. Beat until smooth.
  4. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes or until firm around the edges. Turn off oven. Let cake stand in oven for 2 hours.
  5. Remove cake from oven, let cool completely. Refrigerate until well chilled-several hours.
  6. Run spatula around side of cheesecake to loosen. Remove side of springform pan leaving bottom of pan in place.

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And now the Gourmet Recipe…

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Cream Cheesecake

Line a springform pan with buttered zwieback crumbs or with other dough. (I used a standard graham cracker crust on both cakes.)

Combine 2 ½ pounds cream cheese, 1 ¾ cups sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, 1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon rind, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and ½ teaspoon vanilla. Blend well and add 5 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks, one at a time, beating lightly after each addition. Fold in ½ cup heavy cream. Pour batter into pan and bake in a very hot (550 degree) oven for 12 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to very slow and continue baking for 1 hour. Cool the cheesecake before cutting it.

I’ll be honest – I found the baking instructions on the Gourmet recipe less straight-forward than the Lindy’s recipe so I just used the cooking instructions from Lindy’s recipe for the second cake as well. It worked out fine.

And the winner was…Lindy’s by a landslide!

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Thanks so much to Judi for sharing this great recipe and story!

Eat Well!


Check out Judi’s awesome artwork at

One thought on “Cheesecake Showdown

  1. Pingback: Cheesecake Brownies |

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