We revisited a favorite restaurant in Florence. For dessert, our waitress insisted we try the cheesecake, as it was her favorite. And we did. It was "L'ultimo!" as the Italians would say it. Translated it means the final version, the best!"
We asked her if it was made with fresh ricotta. She said, "No, Ricotta! Philadelphia and Marscapone! You know Philadelphia! Cookies for the crust! " We were amazed that Philadelphia cream cheese was top of mind in Italy. Further research revealed that the European rights to Philadelphia Cream cheese were owned by Mondelez, a European food company. They did a great job marketing cream cheese to the Italians. They since sold it back to Kraft-Heinz for over $3.5 billion, according to Fortune Magazine.
When we returned, we decide to see if we could duplicate the recipe. I adapted this recipe from epicurious.com and made the following changes:
I used two packages of graham crackers and 1 stick of butter. I used an 8 inch spring-form pan. (The 9 inch they recommend would have made if flat rather than tall). Be sure all your ingredients are at room temperature before you start mixing. This is very important as the cheesecake will not cook evenly.
Since my oven has a mind of its own, I found that it needed 30 minutes of baking. Then you turn the oven off, open the door and let is stay in the oven for another 30 minutes. When cooled, chill it in refrigerator.
We skipped the topping. It does not need it. It was as good as the Florentine version. Three of our cheesecake expert friends were swooning over the results as were we. So remember, its Philadelphia and Marscapone!