Nearly every feast in Israel comes with its own food-related traditions. Some holidays call for abstinence from a food group, while others command fasting altogether. Then there are those that invite you to indulge in special delicacies. Shavuot falls in the latter category. On the Feast of Weeks, Israelis dine on all kinds of dairy treats. Nobody can pinpoint the exact reason behind this tradition, but the ambiguity matters little. For Shavuot dinner, tables groan under delectable quiches, mouth-watering salads, cheesy pastas, flaky, cream-stuffed pastries and then, for the grand finale, cheesecake for desert. Shavuot cheesecake recipes are often a family affair, passed down from one generation to the next. Daniel Kirchhevel, a Bridges for Peace volunteer, shared his family recipe with us.
For the crust
1 3/4 cups (175 g) cookie crumbs (graham crackers work well, but for an interesting twist, try chocolate or vanilla wafers, gingersnaps, shortbread or even Oreos)
5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup (225 g) cream cheese
1 cup (200 g) sugar
3/4 cup (175 ml) milk
1 cup (225 g) sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup (32 g) flour
In a mixing bowl, combine cookie crumbs and melted butter.
Coat the bottom of a 9 inch (23 cm) springform pan with the crumbs, pressing the mixture down firmly and evenly to form the crust.
Freeze until the filling is prepared.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese and sugar. Blend until sugar is dissolved.
Add the milk and blend until combined.
Add the eggs one at a time, stirring just until each egg is incorporated.
Add the sour cream, vanilla extract and flour, blending until smooth.
Pour the filling into the cookie crust.
Bake in the preheated oven for one hour.
Switch off the oven and allow the cake to cool inside the oven for a minimum of four hours to prevent cracks.
Once the cake is cooled, transfer it to a wire rack.
Top with lemon curd, homemade strawberry jam or fresh fruit.
Enjoy and happy Shavuot!
Photo Credit: Einladung_zum_Essen/pixabay.com
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