- Product # 070921
- Type Hardcover
- ISBN 978-1-56158-880-0
- Dimensions 8 x 9
- Pages 192
- Photos 40 full-color photos
Alan Rosen, the grandson of Junior's founder, reveals the very recipe that made Junior's reputation -- the Original New York Cheesecake, unchanged since 1950. But that's just the start. There's Banana Fudge, Lemon Coconut, Strawberry Parfait, Brownie Swirl cheesecake...well, you get the idea...50 fabulous reasons to indulge.
The must-have book for everyone who thinks a slice of cheesecake is a taste of heaven!
- Cheesecake 101 -- a course-in-a-chapter. See how a little "babying" (a water bath, keeping cooling cakes out of drafts) goes a long way to ensuring crust and filling perfection. Includes a trouble-shooting chart, and wonderful garnish and flourish how-to's.
- Junior's Favorites -- the "original," plain and wonderful, then mounded with fresh fruit, glistening with glaze, laden with crunch, swirled with chocolate, pumpkin, even peanut butter and jelly
- "Reasons to Celebrate" -- Cherry Heart, Easter Egg, Christmas Tree, Stars & Stripes...festive cheesecakes for every occasion
- Did somebody say "chocolate?" Triple Chocolate, Chocolate Marble, Chocolate Crunch, Candy Bar Explosion...need we say more?
- Little Fellas -- small in size, big in flavor, fast to make because they're mostly all filling. Freezable too. (Junior's tip: Double the recipe, and defrost to enjoy any time!)
- Skyscrapers -- incredible cakes within cakes. Delicious homemade layer cakes (like devil's food) hold extra creamy layers of cheesecake.
- Terrific "inside" tips and mouthwatering full-color photos throughout
- Table of Contents
The Story of Junior's Cheesecake 2
Junior's Cheesecake 101 6
Junior's Favorites 32
Cheesecakes with Fruit 54
Celebration Cheesecakes 76
We Love Chocolate! 104
Little Fellas 130
Skyscraper Cheesecakes 148
Welcome to Junior's, the home of the #1 New York cheesecake, the cheesecake that all others aspire to be. Come on down to Brooklyn, to the corner of DeKalb and Flatbush Avenue Extension, and find out what makes this cheesecake better than any other. You'll feel right at home the minute you open the door -- someone's always there, smiling and waiting to say, "Welcome to Junior's!" Take a seat at the counter and order a slice of our famous cheesecake, just like folks have been doing ever since the 1950s. Now get ready for the best cheesecake you've ever tasted!
At first glance, you'll see that Junior's cheesecake is different from all the others. This slice of cheesecake is straightforward, plain, and homemade looking. Nothing fancy, not even sour cream or whipped cream on top. Rather, it's cake-like and golden on top, not pale or milky white. And no graham cracker crust for this cake! Instead, it's baked on a delicate sponge cake -- the same kind you make for a birthday cake. Put in your fork to break off a bite. It's so dense and rich that it holds together and still stands proud -- not dry or crumbly. Now, take a taste. It's smooth, satiny, oh-so-creamy, and so good that you're immediately ready to take a second bite -- then another and another until only the memory of the best cheesecake you've ever eaten is left. As the reporter Ron Rosenbaum once wrote in The Village Voice, "The cheesecake at Junior's is like 'edible ivory.' It's the closest thing to heaven one can imagine -- it's a slice of cheesecake, made the real New York way."
As you might expect, a cake this fine wasn't created in a day!
It All Began on Cherry Street
It was 1904, the year Grandpa Harry was born to his parents, Sarah and Barnett Rosen, who had emigrated a few years before from Ukraine. They were very poor and lived in a tenement on Cherry Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. They had six children; Grandpa Harry (Hershel) was the second oldest of their four sons. Barnett worked twelve hours a day at the Wilson & Company's slaughterhouse.
Sarah was ten years younger than her husband. Though she was illiterate, she was energetic, wise, skillful, and resourceful. The Rosens were masters at making the best of what they had. To help bring in money, Sarah ran a small newsstand. One day, when she was fifty-one, she was gathering some ice that had fallen off an ice wagon. She was pinned beneath the heavy wagon wheels and her arm was so badly hurt that it had to be amputated. But she continued to work to make some money. All along, Sarah and Barnett squirreled away everything they could.
My great-grandmother Sarah was probably the single source that drove her sons, my Grandpa Harry and his older brother Mike, to success. She saw to it that they always worked every day after school, not far from home, at Marchioni's Ice Cream Parlor. Sarah would give them fifty cents a week of the money they had earned to frivolously spend any way they wished, then she saved every penny of their earnings over that. In just two years she had $1,500, so she bought them a partnership in a luncheonette on Duane Street and Broadway. Grandpa was only sixteen and his brother Mike, eighteen. They soon became known for some of the best sandwiches and sodas around. They bought out their partner, and expanded to shop after shop, until they had their own chain in Manhattan called the Enduro Sandwich Shops.
In 1928, Grandpa took his bride-to-be, Ruth Jacobson, to the corner of DeKalb and Flatbush Avenue Extension in Brooklyn, the same corner where Junior's stands today. "Right here is where we will open the next Enduro Sandwich Shop," he told her proudly. Ruth, a twenty-year-old from the Bronx, knew only that Brooklyn was infamous for gangsters, bootleg breweries, and waterfront dives. "Harry, what are you thinking? This place is a morgue." Grandpa looked at her with a smile she soon learned expressed his love of challenge and confidence. "If I listen to you, my darling, we'll be wearing cigar boxes for shoes."
Corned Beef on Rye, Please
In February 1929, Grandpa and his brother Mike opened the shop in the Brooklyn location. Business was good, but then the stock market crashed and they lost a lot of money. They ended up selling most of their Enduro shops in Manhattan, and concentrated all of their efforts on the Enduro in Brooklyn. When Prohibition was repealed, Grandpa and his brother expanded again, this time adding a cocktail bar and an elevated bandstand, turning his luncheonette into a full-scale Enduro Restaurant and Café. By then, he had two sons -- my uncle, Marvin, and my dad, Walter. From 1934 to 1949, the Enduro was the place to dine, drink, and dance. But by 1949, the servicemen were gone and the general public stopped flocking to the Enduro steakhouse with its glitzy nightclub look. It fell deep in debt and eventually closed. Mike wanted to call it quits and eventually did, but Grandpa still had his dreams and his vision.
Sprinkle a Little Sugar
Grandpa was full of ideas on how to salvage the business. He saw a family dining place for the future, a safe and reassuring place that served good homemade food and lots of it. It would be modern and sleek: bright orange Naugahyde® booths, light wooden counters, and futuristic hanging lamps. We still have that same look today. Grandpa needed a new name, so he chose Junior's, in honor of his two sons, Marvin and my dad, Walter.
Grandpa often said, "Sprinkle a little sugar on the table, and the ants will come." And he was right. Junior's opened on Election Day in 1950. Red, white, and blue banners flew in the breeze, sweet bakery aromas drew in the customers, and Grandpa gave them what they wanted -- excellent home-cooked food, impeccable service, the best desserts anywhere, and, most of all, his welcoming smile. So the folks came, from early morning until the wee hours of the night. And they kept on ordering: thick juicy hamburgers, fresh brisket on challah, creamy egg salad, mile-high malteds, and sundaes smothered with hot fudge and topped with whipped cream. They loved it all and they kept coming back day after day.
Grandpa knew if he was going to have a great restaurant in New York, he had to offer the best baked goods around, so he hired the Danish baker Eigel Peterson. The pair soon became a familiar sight in the bakery, working alongside each other all hours of the day. Almost everywhere Grandpa went, he brought back some baked goods that he liked: a sweet bread one day, a slice of a three-layer devil's food cake the next, a piece of berry pie another day. Then he and Eigel would spend hours in the bakery trying to make them. They would bake and taste, then bake some more, until they came up with something even better looking and tasting, and good enough to put on the menu. Some are still on the menu today: fresh strawberry shortcake (four layers!), cherry crumb pie, apple strudel, and the creamiest rice pudding you've ever tasted.
Creating Cheesecake the Junior's Way
Grandpa also knew that a great New York restaurant had to have a great cheesecake. So he set out to make the best cheesecake in the world. He started bringing in samples from the places known for their cheesecakes: Lindy's, Reuben's, the Brass Rail, even the local diner down the street. He and Eigel would taste each one, then they would start baking. The crust of one cake was just right but the cheese filling was too dry and crumbly. The creaminess of another was perfect but its graham cracker crust didn't work. Still another had that melt-in-your-mouth creaminess but lacked a subtle, sweet flavor.
Finally, they thought they had found the magical formula and their customers agreed. They kept hearing that Junior's cheesecake simply tasted better than any cheesecake they had ever put into their mouths. Whatever it was, they had done it; they had finally created the Junior's way to make cheesecake!
The customers kept coming and they kept ordering slices of Junior's New York cheesecake: Elvis Presley, John Lindsay, Bobby Kennedy, Abe Beame, Ed Koch, Reverend Al Sharpton, Joe Torre, Robert DeNiro, and regular Brooklynites from all walks of life. My dad, Walter, and my uncle Marvin became regulars too, as they became more and more active in running Junior's.
We're Number 1!
On July 26, 1973, writer Ron Rosenbaum published his column in The Village Voice challenging anyone anywhere to find a better cheesecake than the one baked at Junior's. "There will never be a better cheesecake than the cheesecake they serve on Flatbush Avenue... "
Then during the fall of 1973, a panel of six experts from New York magazine set out to find the best cheesecake in New York. Our cake was one of twelve New York-style plain cheesecakes they brought back to their office to judge. As the story goes, they rated each one for freshness, the quality of ingredients, and just plain good taste. Finally they found the winner: all six judges unanimously chose Junior's cheesecake the Champion Cheesecake of all cheesecakes in New York City. We even beat out the cakes from the famous Stage Deli and Ratner's. Though we didn't realize it at the time, we were well on our way to becoming famous!
After the magazine hit the stands, the news traveled fast, well beyond Brooklyn. More and more folks came to Junior's -- each one wanting a big slice of our cheesecake. Our business grew quickly; on an average day, we served about 500 slices and packed another 500 cheesecakes to go. Our staff baked around the clock to keep up with the demand. By 1977, Junior's was producing 5,000 cheesecakes every week!
Save the Cheesecake!
But it hasn't all been roses for us. Late one hot August Sunday night in 1981, a three-alarm fire broke out at Junior's. Luckily, all fifty of our employees and seventy-five customers got out safely. The firemen worked for 2 1/2 hours putting out the fire. At the end of that long night, there was little left but ashes where Junior's had stood. While the firefighters worked through the night, we all came. Folks from the neighborhood were there too, chanting: "Save the cheesecake, save the cheesecake!"
We started cleaning up right away. Our staff, from bakers to cooks to waiters, was there, even though they knew they would be out of work for months. We all pitched in to save the cheesecake. We began almost immediately baking our cakes in some spare oven space in the old Barton Candy factory on DeKalb. We sold them as fast as we could bake them at our Cheese Cakerie, which we opened in the Albee Square Mall nearby.
In less than a year, on May 27, 1982, Junior's reopened on the same corner. It had that same Junior's look, but now we were bigger and better. We now had room to seat 450 instead of 350, plenty of extra space for parties, a fully stocked bar, and even a sidewalk café. We updated all of our kitchens and added a refurbished bakery. Dignitaries came and declared it Junior's Day in Brooklyn. Customers came from near and far; they lined up from early in the morning until late at night for a slice of our cheesecake. No one seemed to mind waiting. It was just liked Grandpa always said: "Give folks what they want, when they want it. If you do that, they will come." And they did. They would wait for hours for a slice of Junior's cheesecake.
Junior's: The Most Fabulous Cheesecake in the World
Brooklyn began renovating in the 1980s and continued through the '90s and right on into the next century. More and more families started staying or returning to Brooklyn and young professionals came too, to get away from the high rents in Manhattan. Junior's has continued to grow along with the neighborhood, expanding in ways even we never dreamed possible.
I made my first appearance on the QVCSM TV Shopping Network in the fall of 1995. Before my show was over, the phones started ringing. We sold 2,400 cheesecakes in 4 1/2 minutes. Even for Junior's, that's a lot of cakes! And we had only ten days to deliver. Our ovens were going twenty-four hours a day. Soon, my appearances were producing 27,000 orders, so we hired more bakers and started baking more cheesecakes.
The rest is history. Junior's has now become the authority on cheesecakes -- especially New York cheesecake. Writer Raymond Seitz summed it all up in an article in the Conde Nast Traveler: "Few things in life are certain. But one incontestable verity is that Junior's serves the best damn cheesecake in New York, or as its proprietors, the Rosen family, might say with typical Brooklyn dissidence, 'the most fabulous cheesecake in the world.' "
You can still enjoy a slice of cheesecake at our flagship restaurant in Brooklyn. But if you can't visit us there, stop by our Junior's restaurant and bakery in Grand Central Station in midtown Manhattan. Or drop by our newest home in Shubert Alley in Times Square. If you're not near New York City, just pick up the phone and we'll ship a cheesecake right to you, the very next day, wherever you live.
Over the years, our bakers have baked over a hundred different varieties of Junior's cheesecakes, from our famous plain original New York cheesecake to some traditional favorites of chocolate mousse, strawberry swirl, and cherry crumb. Our newest creations are towering skyscraper cakes -- actually a cake-within-a cake, such as Fresh Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake and Carrot Cake Cheesecake. Whichever one you want, you'll find it at Junior's! And now, thanks to this book, you can bake cheesecake at home in your own kitchen, the famous Junior's way.