(using Israeli cheese products)
Submitted by GKC friend and reader Elana Bacon
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Elana claims that Israeli cheeses make the best Shavuot cheesecake. Try it and let us know if this is the best cheesecake recipe you've tried - but I wouldn’t be surprised if she was right.
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST:
18 tea biscuits
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup (113 grams) melted butter
Or buy a graham cracker crust
2-1/2 cups Gvina Levana (any percentage you want but I use 5%) (White cheese in Israel) This is cream cheese for those of us who live in the U.S. See Elana’s notes and tips at the end of the recipe)
1 cup Shamenet (sour cream)
1/2 cup dairy whipping cream (NOT whipped)(aka Katzefet)
2 teaspoons vanilla
Juice of 1 lemon (you can also use about 2-3 tablespoon bottled lemon juice depending on taste)
2 tablespoons flour
1-1/8 cup sugar
2 whole eggs plus 1 egg white
1 cup Shamenet
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sugar
Cookie crumbs for crumbling on top (optional)
Mix in a medium bowl until well combined.
Mix all ingredients for the crust together and press into a spring form pan or in 3 long skinny rectangular aluminum pans.
Preheat oven to 180 Celsius (or 350 F).
Mix all together in a big bowl until everything is mixed well.
Pour into greased pan/pans. At this point you can swirl in some blueberry pie filling, add chocolate chips or whatever your cravings desire.
Place into a bigger roasting pan (or 9x13 pan) to cook in a water bath.
Place on oven rack and slowly pour boiling water into the outer pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the center is only slightly loose but most of the cake is set.
Take it out and pour on the optional topping and bake another 10 minutes.
Cool completely then place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Growing up in NY I know good cheesecake and coming to Israel to find out that the cream cheese here isn’t quite the American cream cheese, it was so hard to find a good old New York style cheesecake...until I found this recipe!!! I know this recipe may not help all those living in the states (since they don’t really need the help in the first place) but to all those readers in Israel, here is a good cheesecake recipe that is as close to a New York style cheesecake that I have found. Feel free to add any additions of pie fillings/chocolate/caramel or to add any topping. I personally like it best good and plain!!!
Notes on Gvina Levana, Israel’s version of cream cheese:
In Israel Gvina Levana is the Israeli version of cream cheese. It’s basically the same texture as thick yogurt instead of the harder brick like Americans are used to. It comes in the same type of container as the cottage cheese. Literally translated its white cheese. It comes in a variety of fat percentages too- there’s 0.5%, 3%, 5% or 9%. There may be more as well but those are the ones I'm familiar with. I generally use the 5% but to each their own...
P.S. As a side note if anyone wants American style cream cheese here in Israel for their bagels or matzo or whatever all they have to do is take a container of Shamenet (sour cream) mix about 1 tsp of salt in and place it in a cloth/cheese cloth/dishtowel hanging over a container to drain overnight in the refrigerator (I do this by taking the extra material and rubber banding it over the side of a cylinder container) in the morning (or about 8-10 hours later) take the cream cheese out of the cloth and place in a smaller container and discard the liquid. At this point any additions can be added- chives, lox bits, garlic etc.
For all those who don’t eat Chalav Yisrael in Israel- they do sell Philadelphia cream cheese at a bunch of stores throughout Jerusalem.
Enjoyed this Shavuot cheesecake? Try another of our delicious cheesecake recipes.