Favorite Shavuos Cheesecake Recipes For Jewish Baby Boomers
Five fun, favorite cheesecake recipes to make Shavuos the Festival Of Dairy.
It would be easy to think that Shavuos is really the Festival of the Cheesecakes and Holiday of the Vegetarians. Perhaps it’s because Shavuos doesn’t require us to turn the house upside down to clean it, or to build a sukkah and move half our house outside into it, so Jewish women and men are free to spend time on an elaborate dessert.
Although the Jews probably did not eat cheesecake on Mount Sinai when they received the Torah, cheesecake has been around for a very long time. The oldest known cheesecake recipe comes from Ancient Greece in the year 230 CE, from the writer Athenaeus. It was not much like the cheesecakes we know and love today, consisting of just cheese, honey, and wheat flour. We’ve gathered five of our favorite fun cheesecake recipes for you to enjoy (but Athenaeus’ recipe is not one of them).
Cheesecake Filled, Chocolate-covered Strawberries:
How’s this for hitting all the right buttons? This great recipe idea comes from Tami’s Table Talk, a family-friendly, low-carb recipe blog. The recipe calls for Philadelphia ready-to-eat cheesecake filling, but you could use our cheesecake filling suggestion instead. This could also be a great way to use up extra cheesecake filling that won’t fit your crust. Just make sure the filling is egg-free, because these strawberries won’t be baked.
What You Need:
• Whole Strawberries
• Cheesecake filling (see below)
• Good Quality Dipping Chocolate
• 8 ounce package soft cream cheese
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1 cup sour cream
• 8 ounces Cool Whip, slightly thawed
Beat cream cheese until smooth, add sugar and mix well. Add sour cream and vanilla, mix well. Fold in Cool Whip.
Low-Fat Gluten-Free Lemon Cheesecake:
Here’s a low-fat, diabetic friendly AND crustless gluten-free cheesecake. It’s as healthy as you can get in a cheesecake! Perfect for those of us who want to watch their diet, but still be able to indulge a little for the joy of the holiday. This is a baked cheesecake, making it both more stable and more authentic in its cheesecake texture. The full recipe is available over on JoyOfKosher.com
This low-fat, low-carb cheesecake recipe was shared by Nechama Cohen, author of EnLITEned Kosher Cooking and the founder and executive director of the Jewish Diabetes Association. It’s low in fat and low in carbs, making it a great choice for health-conscious Jewish seniors, and for your weight-conscious daughters and grand-daughters.
Cook Time: 1 hour
• Non-stick cooking spray
• 4 eggs, separated, plus 2 egg whites
• sugar substitute equal to 3/4 cup sugar, divided
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice, divided
• dash of salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3 cups 3% soft white cheese, light cream cheese or ricotta cheese, drained
• 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
• 2 tablespoons vanilla-flavored, low-carb soy protein powder
• 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
• sugar substitute equal to 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Preheat oven to 400°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan with baking paper. Spray just a bit with non-stick cooking spray.
• Separate the eggs. Beat egg whites the Enlitened way (p. 43) with salt, half of the sugar substitute and half of the lemon juice, until stiff. Beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar substitute until thick. With the mixer on a low-medium setting, beat in the vanilla, cheese, lemon juice and rind, and protein powder until incorporated. Gently fold into the beaten egg whites.
• Bake for 10 minutes at 400°F, and then turn the oven down to 300°F and bake for another 40 minutes. When the top of the cake is set, turn off the oven and keep the oven door closed. Allow to cool for another hour in the oven. Remove and continue to cool on a wire rack.
• For topping, combine sour cream, sugar substitute and vanilla. Spread on top of the cheesecake and bake for 5 minutes at 450°F.
YIELD: 12 slices
Frozen Cream Cheese Brownies
We couldn’t have a line-up of favorite cheesecake recipes without including a chocolate version! These frozen cream cheese brownies can be eaten with your fingers, making them great for serving at a Shavuos breakfast kiddush. The recipe comes from the Fat Witch Brownie Bakery cookbook.
Be sure to use block-style cream cheese as opposed to whipped. Allow it to come to room temperature slowly; don’t be tempted to speed things up in the microwave.
• 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
• 4 large eggs
• 2 tsp vanilla
• 1 1/2 cups (12oz) bittersweet chocolate chips
• 1 cup unbleached flour
• 16 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
• Grease a 9-inch x 9-inch baking pan with butter. Dust with flour and tap out the excess. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
• Melt the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted. Set aside to cool.
• Beat the cream cheese and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Beat in 1 egg and set the mixture aside.
• Place the remaining 11/4 cups of sugar in a large bowl and beat in the remaining 3 eggs, one at a time until smooth. Add the vanilla and chocolate mixture and mix until well blended.
• Measure the flour and salt and then sift together directly into the chocolate batter. Mix the batter gently until well combined and no trace of the dry ingredients remains.
• Spread three-quarters of the chocolate batter evenly in the prepared baking pan. Pour the cream cheese mixture evenly over the top of the chocolate layer in the pan. Then gently pour the remaining chocolate batter over the top of the cream cheese layer, spreading evenly with a spatula.
• Dip a rounded edge knife in the pan and lift straight up, creating a marbled effect in the batter. Repeat to create a pattern, either random or in rows.
• Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or with only crumbs, not batter, on it.
• Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 11/2 hours. Freeze brownies in the pan for 45 minutes.
• Cut just before serving. Wrap any uneaten pieces with plastic or foil and return to the freezer.
Makes 12 to 16 brownies
This traditional simple cheesecake is perfect for days when you’ve had enough of slaving in a hot kitchen, because you don’t have to bake anything! It’s a great task to give to children or grandchildren, since they won’t need to use a hot stove. Plus, if you buy a ready-made graham cracker crust it’s even easier. Get the full instructions from Martha Stewart.
This beautiful swirled orange marble cheesecake is consciously low-fat and diabetic friendly – perfect for baby boomers who need to watch their fat and sugar intakes. Although this time, diabetics might find it too stunning to eat! It’s also potentially crustless and thus gluten-free, which is great for anyone who’s trying to avoid gluten. This cheesecake is actually more like a set pudding than a cake, since it isn’t baked but left to set overnight in the fridge before serving, giving it a different, smooth texture to traditional baked cheesecakes.
What’s your favorite cheesecake flavor?