The last day of May marks the beginning of a two-day Jewish holiday Shavuot. Literally meaning “Feast of Weeks” Shavuot is one of the three biblical pilgrimage holidays known as the shalosh regalim. It combines two major religious observances in one. First is the grain harvest of the early summer. Second is the revelation of the Torah to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai seven weeks after Passover.
Although Shavuot is all about reading the Torah and attending synagogues, what you really need to know about the holiday is that it’s centered on dairy food. Milk is considered to be a symbol of the Torah, which nourishes the people directly, just like mother’s milk for a baby. Traditional Shavuot menus range from cheese blintzes to quiches, casseroles to kugels and more. But today’s article we are dedicating to the most famous and delicious dairy dessert out there that doesn’t discriminate. Jews or Christians, Muslims or Buddhists, no one can resist a slice of delicious Cheesecake that melts in your mouth. And Shavuot seems like the perfect excuse for making one at home, doesn’t it?
Whether you’ve got all the time in the world to create your own decadent dessert, or you need a sweet fix fast, there’s a cheesecake recipe just for you. From the Italian original to an easy holiday dip, here are some of our favorites.
Classic Ricotta Cheesecake
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp flour
¾ to 1 cup sugar (to taste)
1.5 lbs whole milk ricotta cheese
¼ cup AP flour
6 egg yolks
6 egg whites
Zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
9 in. X 3 in springform pan
Linen cheese cloth
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Prepare the springform pan with butter and flour.
- Strain ricotta in the cheese cloth, gently squeezing it until most of the liquid comes out.
- In a large bowl, beat together the strained ricotta, salt, 6 TBSP of the sugar, lemon zest, egg yolks, and flour. Then, whisk until smooth.
- Whip the egg whites in a separate bowl, with a mixer. Start it on low, then add the rest of the sugar. Increase the mixer speed until the eggs make stiff peaks.
- Fold the egg whites into the ricotta mixture gently and slowly, making sure not to break them. You want to keep as much of their ‘fluff’ as possible.
- Transfer batter into the springform pan, gently shaking it back and forth to level out the mixture.
- Bake on 375 for 1 hour, until the top is golden brown, and the center is firm.
- Place on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then remove the sides of the springform (run a knife or spatula around the rim first).
- Cool completely.
This rich cheesecake is best served immediately, but will keep for three days in the refrigerator (make sure to wrap it). Make sure to serve it with your favorite fresh fruits, berries, or compote.
Cheesecake with Strawberry Glaze
1 pack of Graham Crackers, crushed
About 2 tbsp butter melted (this is for the crust and is really done by feel)
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tbsp vanilla
4 (8 oz) packages cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup sour cream
¾ cups whole milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp nutmeg
¼ all-purpose flour
1 16 oz bag frozen strawberries
½ Cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
A springform pan 9 in. X 3 in. OR 2 9 inch pie pans. If you use the pie pans this will make 2 cheesecakes and you will need to double the crust.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and greese your pan, or pans.
- Mix the Graham Crackers, Brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together well. If you like your crust extra uniform you can use a food processor. Rustic, uneven crusts make for great texture though.
- Next, stir in the vanilla, and slowly add the butter. You want the crackers to stick together like wet sand. If you end up with something too moist, add another cracker.
- This step is optional. Toast the crust on the top rack for about 5 minutes and let it cool, It tastes better and caramelizes the sugar just a touch.
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar until it is smooth. Then add the milk.
- Beat the eggs in a separate bowl, and add into the cream cheese mixture.
- Finally add in the sour cream, vanilla, and flour until smooth.
- Poor into your prepared crust(s) and back in the oven for about 1 hour. If it jiggles like jello, it’s done. Let it cool in the oven with the door closed for a few hours, and then finish cooling on the counter. This prevents cracking and help preserve its texture. Then, chill in the refrigerator until serving.
- Put contents in a pot on medium heat and boil. Stir carefully and often. You’ll know that it is ready to take off the stove when the mixture thickens and evenly coats the back of your spoon.
- Chill and top your cheesecake (or ice cream, or waffles…). For an added touch of beauty, slice fresh strawberries and fan over the top.
Kahlua Cheesecake Dip
No time for all that baking and water bathing? Or maybe you just want something decadent right now? There’s a cheesecake recipe for that too!
12 oz (1 ½ packs) cream cheese, softened
¼ Kahlua (or your favorite cream-style liqueur here, Bailey’s Irish Cream will work, and so will Amarula – be creative)
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Graham crackers, gingerbread cookies, or butter cookies (your favorites) for dipping
- Mix all ingredients until smooth – an electric mixer will help, but isn’t necessary.
- Dip and eat!
This recipe is quick and easy to prepare ahead. Store in the fridge until about a half hour before serving.
Now, You Are All Ready To Treat Your Dear Ones To A Delicious Cheesecake On Shavuot – What’s Next?
- Don’t forget about those far away. Send your family and friends a sweet surprise for Shavuot or just to brighten up their day. Browse holiday gifts to USA, Australia & 200 countries, and make sure your surprise is delivered on time!
- Looking for more authentic recipes for traditional Jewish holidays? Check out Holiday Recipes: Rosh Hashanah Essentials.
- You’ve read this far, which means your friends would be interested too. Don’t be stingy, click those share buttons below.