How to make New York City’s best cheesecake

How to make New York City’s best cheesecake

Like any good Greek mama, Maria Zoitas wants to feed you.

And for 25 years, the culinary queen bee of grocery chain Westside Market has been doing just that with her line of prepared foods, Maria’s Homemade, sold at the markets she and her husband, John, started soon after immigrating to New York in 1970.

Zoitas’ Greek and American dishes have remained a secret for decades — but now, with the release of her cookbook “Made With Love,” fans can now make faves such as spinach pie and moussaka at home.

The book chronicles Zoitas’ journey to America from a small farming village in Greece, plus more than 200 of her recipes — and it’s out just in time for holiday cooking.

Among the Astoria resident’s most-beloved recipes is the dish she says “launched” her career: cheesecake, made with a Grecian touch of lemon zest and honey, and often topped with syrupy strawberries.

The cheesecake was the first prepared food she introduced to the grocery chain, and the one that convinced her husband her cooking could sell just as well as his precious produce.

“Nobody in New York at the time really knew what spanakopita [spinach pie] was, but everybody knew about cheesecake, so we started with that,” Zoitas tells The Post. “And little by little, it started selling — and then the spanakopita started selling, and then the soups.”

And just like that, she was in the family business: Now, Zoitas and her crew make more than 600 kinds of prepared foods from bustling kitchens below the grocery stores.

For a slice of this family’s New York history, here’s the recipe for Zoitas’ beloved cheesecake.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ½ pounds of Philadelphia cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract, or the paste of one vanilla bean
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Nonstick cooking spray

INSTRUCTIONS

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