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Charoset Labneh Cheesecake

March 13, 2020

by: Rae Harris, BFP Staff Writer

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During Pesach (Passover), the Jewish people eat unleavened bread to commemorate their hasty departure from Egypt. The seder (Passover ritual meal) includes many symbols of their time in slavery, including charoset—a cinnamon, apple and walnut blend commemorating the mortar the Israelites used. Our leaven-free cheesecake, a traditional Pesach dessert, is infused with the flavors of charoset. If you can’t find labneh, a creamy Middle Eastern cheese, follow our simple recipe and make your own. Chag Pesach Sameach—happy Passover!

Ingredients

Crust:

2                      sheets of matzah (unleavened bread)
1½ cups          walnuts
¼ cup              sugar
1 tsp                cinnamon
4 Tbsp            melted butter
Pinch of salt

Filling:

2 cups            labneh
2/3 c               sugar
2                      eggs
4 Tbsp            melted butter
½ c                 heavy cream
½ c                 flour
2 tsp               vanilla
1 Tbsp            lemon juice
Pinch of salt

Homemade Labneh:

3 cups            whole fat yogurt
½ tsp             salt

Cinnamon Apple Caramel:

¼ c                  sugar
¼ c                  honey
2 cups            apple cider or juice
½ tsp              cinnamon
1 Tbsp            butter
Pinch of salt
1                      apple, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp            flour mixed with 3 Tbsp water

Instructions

Crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. In a food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until finely ground.
  3. Press mixture to a 9-inch (22.8-cm) round baking dish coated with nonstick spray, firmly pressing crust up the sides of the pan.
  4. Bake crust for 10–15 minutes until golden brown. Remove and cool.

Filling:

  1. Combine all ingredients and blend in food processor until smooth.
  2. Pour batter into crust and bake for an hour or until filling is set. Allow to cool, then cover and place in fridge overnight.

Cinnamon Apple Cider Caramel:

  1. Combine sugar, honey, apple cider and cinnamon in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Add flour mixture and stir. Simmer for a few minutes until thickened.
  4. Add butter and stir.
  5. Add sliced apples and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  7. Arrange the apples and drizzle caramel over the top of the cheesecake.

Labneh:

  1. Pour the yogurt into a large bowl. Stir in salt.
  2. Line a large sieve placed over a large bowl with a linen towel or cheesecloth.
  3. Pour the yogurt into the towel and tie towel in a knot. Set in the fridge to drain for 24 hours.

Serves 8–10

Photo Credit: Jenna Solomon/bridgesforpeace.com

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