Shavuot: Another Cheesecake?
There's something about cheesecakes that puts them in a class of their own. Whether you are a fan of cheese or not, once it's baked into a cake, cheese becomes a special treat. And I’m sure you’ve either seen or read about a hundred cheese cake ideas. So let’s make it 102. One that is no bake! And some sides that are lower on the fat content than typical cheese recipes.
There will be many references to cheese, but the cheeses differ from country to country. In the recipes listed here, the conversions are:
Americans use farmers' cheese, OR regular cream cheese
British use soft cream cheese.
Israelis use 5% giveena levana, soft white cheese.
Tamar Ansh is an author, freelance recipe developer, and food columnist. Her articles have appeared in Jewish publications worldwide. She has published 4 books so far which include: Splitting the Sea (Targum Press), inspirational stories on finding one’s soul-mate; Let's Say Amen!, an illustrated children's book about the holiness of Amen (Feldheim Publishers); her first cookbook, A Taste of Tradition (Feldheim Publishers) which is both gluten free and kosher for Passover. Her most recent book is called A Taste of Challah (Feldheim Publishers, 2007). It is a photographic guide to baking and shaping beautiful challahs, and includes many other healthy and interesting bread types as well. Visit http://www.TasteofChallah.com to see all her books online, as well as other, not yet published, challah and bread recipes. She will be coming on a short book tour and speaking in two different places in the Tri-State area the week of March 4-9th! See her website for details and locations.
Easy no-bake Cheesecake
2 ½ cups / 500 grams soft white cream cheese (the Gveena l’vana 5% for Israel)
1 cup sour cream (for Israel, use one container Shamenet)
1 cup sugar
¼ cup powdered vanilla pudding
1 small Rich’s whip (or equivalent)
¼ cup cocoa
Plain cookie wafers, tea biscuits, or ‘bisquiteem’ – to make the contrasting colors use some plain vanilla, some plain chocolate
3 T. cocoa, reserved
Batter: Combine the soft cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, pudding powder. Mix well, until smooth. In a separate bowl, whip up the whipped topping and fold whip into the batter.
NOTE: To make a full 9x13 pan of each color (chocolate cookies and vanilla cookies) you will need to double the cheese batter recipe.
Take out two disposable aluminum baking pans, something a tad smaller than a 9x13. If you plan to make both colors on one day, you will need to double the cheese batter recipe, if you want to have two full 9x13 pans’ worth of each color.
In two pans, about 9 x13 (or slightly smaller), layer the ‘cakes’- a thin layer of cheese on the bottom of the pan to keep the cookies from sliding around, followed by one layer of cookies, and then a thick layer of cheese mix. Repeat until you end off with a top layer of cookies.
To top off the vanilla cheesecake you can melt 100 grams / about 4 oz. dark dairy chocolate and drizzle on the cake with a spoon. Or, reserve some of the cheese mixture, add the 3 Tbsp reserved cocoa and “frost” the came with the chocolate cheese mixture.
Store the cake in the fridge, covered, overnight so the cheeses and cookies can soak into each other and create a real cheesecake texture.
Fluffy Blueberry Cheesecake
Base for the cheesecake:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup oil
5 Tablespoons sugar
1 egg yolk (reserve the white for cake)
1/2 tsp. salt
Mix together “Base” ingredients until a crumbly mixture is formed. Press into the bottom of a 9 or 10 inch round pie pan, or an 9x11 disposable pan. Reserve some crumbs for the topping. Bake cake base at 325°F / 170°C for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven to cool slightly.
3 egg whites (including reserved white from base mixture. Reserve two yolks for later)
1/2 cup sugar
Whip the whites until stiff, add sugar and set aside. In a different bowl, mix: (best done with beaters but can be done well by hand also.)
750 grams 5% white cheese, Israeli.
For the American or European version, use 1 & 1/2 lbs. soft cream cheese or farmers' cheese.
3 packages of vanilla sugar OR 3 T. vanilla
1 cup milk
2/3 cup sugar (if you like sweeter, use up to 3/4 cup)
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
Fold the whipped whites into cheese mixture by hand, using a spatula. Pour this mixture over the base pan you prepared earlier and bake at 350° F /180° C for 50 minutes, until it is a soft golden color on top. It will crack slightly when it is done. Do not over bake.
Let cool completely. Spoon one container of blueberry pie filling over the cake.
Freezes well. (Fruit tends to freeze very deeply so the berries will take some time to defrost all the way.)
Delicious Cheese-Noodle Pie
I suppose you could call this a kugel, but “kugel” for this one sounded so typical, and besides, it does come out looking like a pie.
1 package thin noodles (1 lb / 400-500 grams)
2 cups American unwhipped cream cheese OR 500-600 grams 5% Israeli white cheese
4 oz (about 110 grams) butter (one Israeli stick), softened
(if you want to cut out the butter here, just substitute 1/2 cup canola oil)
½ cup light brown or white sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 packet vanilla sugar OR 2 tsp vanilla essence
½ cup apricot of peach jam or preserves
1 tsp grated lemon peel OR 2 tsp lemon juice
Boil the noodles for 7 minutes; they should be slightly undercooked. Drain immediately and rinse off to halt the cooking process and remove the starchy residue. Set aside in a large bowl.
Blend the rest of the ingredients together in a processor or with a hand beater. Pour the cheese mixture into the reserved noodles and mix together until well coated. Pour this into two 8 inch pie pans or one 9x13 pan.
TIP: When a recipe calls for preserves or real jam – use them! Inexpensive jelly is not made with real fruit and consists mostly of boiled sugar, along with heavy doses of food coloring and only a minimal amount of fruit.
To make the cornflakes topping, mash about 1 ½ cups cornflakes in a bag with your hands until they are crumbs. Toss with a small amount of oil and spread them evenly over your “pies”.
Bake in the oven at 300°F (150°C) for 40-45 minutes until top is nicely golden and sides are done. If the top starts to burn before the pie is done, cover loosely with a piece of foil, leaving the sides open so steam can escape. Serve immediately or freeze for later use. If you froze your cheese pie, you must defrost it completely and reheat it for 20-25 minutes before eating, or the noodles will taste funny. Slice and serve! Serves well warm or cold.
Spinach Cheese Soufflé
2 ½ cups flour
1 ¼ cups corn meal or matzo meal
¼ cup sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. salt
¾ cup olive oil
1 American containter (8 oz. / 220 grams) cream cheese
16 oz. / 450 grams frozen spinach
1 onion, diced
2-3 scallions, optional
¼ - ½ cup soy or real milk
Note: You can make this soufflé dairy or pareve. To make it pareve, use pareve cream cheese and soy milk.
Let the spinach defrost until it’s not icy, in a drainer. Squeeze it out gently by hand and set aside.
Saute the onion and scallion until clear, about 5-8 minutes, in 1 T. of the olive oil. Set aside.
Mix together the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and add the oil and eggs. Mix together by hand. Add the cream cheese and milk. To make it extra smooth you can use the mixer for this part, but it is not necessary. Add all the vegetables and mix. Pour the mixture into a 9x13 pan. If you prefer round, use 2 –8 inch pie pans.
Bake at 350°F / 180°C for 25-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. It should be slightly moist from all the spinach in it, so be careful not to over-bake it. Serves best warm but can be used room temperature as well.