Swimming with Cheesecake
A little while ago, I posted a blog about my mother, Anna's cheesecake recipe. I wrote at the time that it was without a doubt, the world's best cheesecake and that she had kept it classified TOP SECRET for decades.
Over time, many people wrote about how much they enjoyed it (while some members of the family questioned how I could divulge it to the world)!
We all know how amazing the internet is and that ones' words can literally fly around the world. Part of the fun for us writers is that we never know who will read our posts and in which far corners of the globe.
Among the most remarkable and unexpected comments I received was from an American woman, Jane Figueiredo, who was the USA Swimming and Diving Coach of the Decade in the 2000's and 2013 USA Diving Coach of the Year. She is now living in London, coaching the British Olympic Diving Team! One of her star divers is Tom Daley.
Here is her extraordinary email.
Dear Sandra: I just wanted to drop you a quick line to say thank you for letting us have the privilege of making your mom's cheesecake recipe - I was searching online for a great cheesecake recipe and found yours and decided to make it.
A little history first - I currently coach Olympic athletes here in London and my Olympic divers love cheesecake and I had promised them a special treat because they work so very hard. It is always special when I bring them a special when I bring them a treat because they are on a very strict nutrition program. I made your cheesecake for the whole British Diving Team who are currently in London for a very big competition.
It was the first time I used your recipe and I cannot tell you in words how incredibly delicious and amazing it was. They absolutely were so delighted and in awe of how the cake tasted - in fact, they couldn't believe that I could make such a thing!!!!!! I told them about your incredible recipe and they were so excited. I put it together just like you said and then put fresh fruit on top to really make it look and taste amazing.
I am now making a second one for the volunteers at the London OylmpicAquatic centre because they have been so kind and nice so I thought I would make their day and say thanks by making them your cheesecake. I know they will love it and I will be sure to tell them where I got it from.
Your mom and you have made so many of us very happy and brought a lot of sunshine into our lives by allowing us to have your beautiful delicious cheesecake recipe - thank you from all of us and I can't wait to keep brightening people's days with your incredible cake. I will send pictures along the way - Keep in mind I am by no means a baker. Just trying to do my best!
Thanks again and hope you are having an awesome day. Look for us in the upcoming Rio Olympics- watch for Tom Daley who will be diving men's 10m platform - he loves, loves, loves, loves your cheesecake!!!!
Bye for now,
Jane Figueiredo British Olympic Coach
I don't mean to be unpatriotic, but I will be rooting for both the U.S. and the British diving teams at the 2016 Rio Olympics, especially for Tom Daley because he REALLY loves Grandma Anna's cheesecake!
I am so touched by the serendipity of this experience. Here is my mother, a woman born in a shabby, poverty-stricken village in Russia, who came to America with rags on her feet nearly a century ago and whose baking skills are bringing pleasure to contemporary, world-class athletes in the United Kingdom.
Here's my original blog about my mother which was recognized with a Voices of the Year Award from Blogher.
And here's Grandma Anna’s original cheesecake recipe:
WORLD’S BEST CHEESECAKE RECIPE
10 inch Springform pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2 cups of Graham Cracker Crumbs (Nabisco -13 1/2 oz. box)
1/4 pound butter (1 stick)
Pinch of cinnamon
Melt the butter and mix with the cinnamon and graham cracker crumbs
Press down into pan (a little bit higher on the sides)
Bake for 5 minutes at 350, take out of oven and let it cool)
Turn off oven
Four 8 oz. packages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese at room temperature
1 Cup Sugar
Pinch of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of cake or regular flour
Put cream cheese into a mixing bowl ( 4 pkgs of cream cheese)
Add 1 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour, pinch of cinnamon and beat mixture
Add 1 egg at a time and beat into mixture
Pour mixture onto pre-cooked cooled Graham cracker crust
Bake 40 minutes at 375
(PUT INTO COLD OVEN - DO NOT PREHEAT)
After baking the filling remove from oven. Let cool for 30 minutes before smoothing the topping onto the cake.
1 pint container or sour cream
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla or almond extract
Beat several minutes together. Smooth on top of cheesecake. Bake for 8 minutes.
Take out cake and place on something to cool. Place in fridge overnight.
Take off collar of spring form pan and pat more graham cracker crumbs onto the sides of the cake.