How to make New York’s best cheesecake like Maria’s Homemade

Like several good Greek mama, Maria Zoitas desires to feed you.

And for 25 years, the culinary queen bee of grocery chain Westside Market has been doing simply that together with her line of ready meals, Maria’s Selfmade, offered on the markets she and her husband, John, began quickly after immigrating to New York in 1970.

Zoitas’ Greek and American dishes have remained a secret for many years — however now, with the discharge of her cookbook “Made With Love,” followers can now make faves akin to spinach pie and moussaka at house.

The e book chronicles Zoitas’ journey to America from a small farming village in Greece, plus greater than 200 of her recipes — and it’s out simply in time for vacation cooking.
Among the many Astoria resident’s most-beloved recipes is the dish she says “launched” her profession: cheesecake, made with a Grecian contact of lemon zest and honey, and infrequently topped with syrupy strawberries.

The cheesecake was the primary ready meals she launched to the grocery chain, and the one which satisfied her husband her cooking may promote simply in addition to his valuable produce.

“No one in New York on the time actually knew what spanakopita [spinach pie] was, however all people knew about cheesecake, so we began with that,” Zoitas tells The Submit. “And little by little, it began promoting — after which the spanakopita began promoting, after which the soups.”

And similar to that, she was within the household enterprise: Now, Zoitas and her crew make greater than 600 sorts of ready meals from bustling kitchens beneath the grocery shops.
For a slice of this household’s New York historical past, right here’s the recipe for Zoitas’ beloved cheesecake.


  • 2 ½ kilos of Philadelphia cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ tablespoon contemporary lemon zest
  • 6 massive eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract, or the paste of 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups bitter cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Nonstick cooking spray


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F
  2. In an electrical mixer, mix cream cheese, sugar and lemon zest on medium pace for five to 7 minutes. Add the eggs and proceed mixing for five to 7 minutes. Add vanilla, bitter cream and honey and proceed mixing for five to 7 minutes.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whip collectively the heavy cream and cornstarch for 30 seconds till completely blended. Add the contents of the bowl to the mixer and proceed mixing for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Spray a 10” springform pan with nonstick cooking spray and pour batter into pan.
  5. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes in a water bathtub till the floor of the cake is medium golden brown.
  6. Scale back warmth to 250°F and bake for one more 90 minutes.
  7. Flip off warmth and go away within the oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Take away from oven and let cool to room temperature.
  9. Place in fridge for 24 to 48 hours earlier than reducing and serving. Serve plain or with fruit pie filling.

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