Chef in Town: The recipe of the original American cheesecake

The New York cheesecake is one of the most loved cold desserts. It is made with a base of butter biscuits and a filling of cream with fresh cheese. It can be decorated and embellished with different ingredients such as berries – for the classic version – but also chocolate, caramel, grain, coconut flour, and much more. 

How to make the original American cheesecake: the recipe 


  • 300g of Digestive biscuits
  • 150g of melted butter
  • 500g of cream cheese 
  • 100g of sugar
  • one egg
  • 150g of low-fat yogurt without sugar
  • 150g of fresh cream 
  • one spoon of lemon juice
  • vanilla extract

For the frosting: 

  • 180g of fresh berries
  • 3 spoons of sugar

Making the American cheesecake

Firstly, you have to make the base of the cheesecake. All you need are Digestive biscuits and melted butter. Optionally, you can even use shortbread biscuits. The procedure to follow is very simple: after crumbling the biscuits, mix them with melted butter in a bowl. The mixture obtained must be soft and compact. Once it reaches the right consistency, you can proceed and spread it over a springform tin, covering both the bottom and the edge. 

How to make the cream 

To make the sour cream, pour fresh cream, yogurt, and well-filtered lemon juice into another bowl and mix everything. 

In another container, mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer. Then, add one egg and mix again. When the mixture gets creamy, add 170g of sour cream (keep aside the rest). After mixing the two creams, spread them with a paddle over the base of crumbled biscuits. 

How to cook the cake

Place the cake in a static and preheated oven at 165 degrees and cook it for one hour. Once you take it out of the oven, pour 3 spoons of leftover sour cream on the surface and put the cake in the fridge. After about 3 hours, do that procedure again and pour the rest of the sour cream on the cooled layer. At this point, the cake needs to cool for 10 hours in the fridge. 

How to decorate 

If you want to follow the traditional recipe to the letter, decorate the cake with berries frosting. To make it, you have to put berries with sugar on the fire and heat them for about 5 minutes. Then, blend them and sift the frosting to separate the seeds from the mixture. When the frosting gets cold in the fridge, you can spread it on the surface of the cheesecake and decorate it with fresh wild berries and strawberries. 

However, the decoration is the most creative part, so you can go wild with your favorite tastes and personalize your cheesecake. 

How to keep it

Keep the American cheesecake in the fridge for 3-5 days, but you can also freeze it. In this case, avoid putting the frosting and decorate the cake only when you serve it: in this way, you will keep its freshness. 

Chef in Town- a food and beverage column curated by

Intl Editor Francesca Romana Riggio

A fresh and easy recipe for summer

A fresh and easy recipe for summer by Zona Franca: Sauteed Vegetables

Ingredients for 6 people: 300 grams of broad beans, 2 leeks, 2 celeries, 3 carrots, 2 american potatoes, 1/3 of a little spring greens cabbage. Wash and clean the veggies very well, peel the potatoes and the carrots.

Roll-cut the leeks, cut the broad beans into three parts, roll-cut the carrots with a lenght of a half cm, the potatoes into thin slices of a half cm, the cabbage into medium slices.

Wash and drain well, take a big pan, at least three times bigger than the quantity of the veggies, put inside the seeds of 3 cardamom pods and a spoon of coriander seeds, toast them softly trying not to burn them, add 3/4 of a spoon of extravergin olive oil. Cook them at high temperature without letting the oil steam. When the temperature is very high, put the veggies inside the pan, creating ta thermal shock by always keeping the fire at very high temperatures. The pan should stay open, the vegetables don’t have to steam neither to grill. Add salt and pepper depending on your taste.

Use 2 steel tablespoons to turn the vegetables in the frying pan for about 8/10 minutes. When you start to see that the potatoes and the cabbage become al dente, switch off the fire, cover them and leave them cooking for other 5 minutes. Check that the vegetables aren’t uncooked. It’s better to cook them al dente, instead of risking to cook them too much.

Serve the plate at a medium temperature.


ZONA FRANCA is a take away service in Varese where sweet and savory dishes are available and are cooked primarily with vegetables, fruit and flours that are grown from ancient seeds. The raw materials grown from ancient seeds are cultivated using exclusively organic and “biodynamic” methods. Seasonal fruit and vegetables with a short distribution chain are preferred. The plates, glasses and containers used are made up of vegetable fibres that are completely biodegradable. The ovens used are combined electric and steam or gas, nothing is warmed up or cooked in the microwave. A vast range of fruit and vegetable extracts are available in both hot and cold seasons. The project is devised by the artist Franca Formenti and co-directed by Giulia Bonomi.

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