In honor of National Cheesecake Day this past week, we thought we would shed some light on the secret of Louisiana's beloved Creole cream cheese cheesecake.
Creole cream cheese is silky and smooth and has a sweet but tangy flavor. The Creole-style cheese brings the flavor of Louisiana and is very versatile, perfect for both sweet and savory dishes. It can be served with fresh fruit, spread on bread with pepper and salt, and of course, made into a delicious cheesecake.
Research from the book New Orleans Cuisine: Fourteen Signature Dishes and Their Histories, edited by Susan Tucker, revealed that, according to chef John Folse, Creole cream cheese was created by the French who colonized Louisiana in the 1700s.
The unique cream cheese is a farmer's style cheese and can be compared to soft marscarpone. The normal cream cheese we see in stores is made by a custard method, different from the Creole style. Creole cream cheese is made with skim milk, cultured buttermilk, and rennet to curdle the milk. Different methods, such as draining the milk in linen overnight and beating the cheese with salt and sugar, complete the cheesemaking process.
Normal cheesecake, although tasty, simply doesn't measure up to this New Orleans spin on cheesecake. Locations such as Commander's Palace, Antoine's, and other famous New Orleans restaurants serve this adored dessert. If you want to branch out from cheesecake, Blue Bell and New Orleans Ice Cream Company both have a Creole cream cheese ice cream flavor, as does local ice cream shop Creole Creamery. Tujague's regularly features a Creole cream cheese pie. And local supermarkets such as Dorignac's sell Creole cream cheese by the container as well, so you can add it to any of your favorite recipes.
For those who want to make it on their own, go to Emerils.com to have a local chef teach you the ways of the Creole kitchen.