Cheesecake is always a crowd pleaser, but don’t be surprised if your go-to recipe completely differs from a friend’s. Cheesecake ingredients and textures can vary depending on the region. New York claims one of the most popular styles—a dense, creamy dessert that incorporates heavy cream and eggs to add that recognizable richness to the cream-cheese base. Meanwhile, Chicagoans will serve you a version that is firm on the outside and creamy in the center, while Italian-Americans decided to drop the cream cheese altogether in favor of ricotta. F&W’s guide to cheesecake goes beyond traditional recipes (but we have those too) with ideas for tangy goat cheese swap-ins, ways to cook with your slow cooker, tricks for not cooking at all and flavors that fit any season.

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