12 febbraio 2013

New York - Shavuos 2012: Thoughts and Recipes on Cheesecake from Kosher Food Stars

Jamie Geller orange cheesecakeJamie Geller orange cheesecake
New York - While traditional Shabbos and Yom Tov meals are replete with chicken, roasts, turkey, chopped liver and other fleishic delights, Shavuos is the only major Jewish holiday where it is customary to serve dairy foods.  Numerous reasons exist for this annual dairy-fest and while the milchic offerings may vary by family and by nationality, the one food that seems to be synonymous with Shavuos for Jews of all cultures is cheesecake.
Whether cream cheese, farmer cheese or ricotta cheese based, cheesecake is hard to resist and as kosher cooking has become more upscale and adventurous, our cheesecakes seem to be following suit.
In honor of the upcoming Shavuos holiday, several of the most prominent names in the Jewish food world agreed to share both their recipes and their thoughts on everyone’s favorite delicacy with VIN News, including Susie Fishbein, author of the Kosher by Design cookbook series, Jamie Geller, author of the Quick and Kosher cookbook series and co-founder of the Kosher Media Network, Leah Schapira, author of Fresh and Easy Cooking, Tamar Ansh, author of A Taste of Challah and Pesach – Anything’s Possible, Shifra Klein, founder and publisher of gourmet cooking magazine Bitayavon and Nina Safar, creator and administrator of the popular recipe sharing website .

See below recipes: WORD document.

Jamie Geller orange cheesecake recipe
Leah Schapira breakfast cheesecake recipe
Susie Fishbein tiramisu recipe
Tamar Ansh easy cheesecake
Nina safar cheesecake brownies
Shifra bitayavon cookie cheesecake recipe

VIN News:  What kind of cheesecake do you remember eating when you were growing up?
Susie Fishbein:  New York style creamy cheesecake.
Jamie Geller:  Store bought cheesecake.  We loved cheesecake so we would eat anything we could buy or order in a restaurant because my mother never cooked.
Leah Schapira: My mother has been making the same version of cheesecake as long as I can remember. With lots of siblings growing up, this was our treat every Shabbos morning.  Today it’s my kids’ favorite and I have to admit that I don’t make it every week like my mom did.
Tamar Ansh:  None really.  My mother wasn’t so into cheesecakes.  She did have one that was made from some kind of flaky dough and filled with sweet cheese that she made in the summertime.

Shifra bitayavon cookie cheesecake 
Shifra bitayavon cookie cheesecake
Shifra Klein:  As my father was the owner of the Albany Bake Shop in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, we always had a buffet of cheesecakes from the bakery at our Shavuot table.
Nina Safar:  My mom bakes on a regular basis, so coming home from school we were always welcomed by the smell of warm cinnamon buns fresh from the oven, chewy chocolate chip cookies or moist chocolate cake. When a holiday arrived, things would get even sweeter in our house with an array of delicious baked goods. For Shavuot my mom makes a thick rich cheesecake with a graham cracker crust. We kids would have fun adding our favorite toppings such as cherry pie filling, fresh berries or melted chocolate.
VIN: What is your all time favorite cheesecake?
SF:  Snickers Cheesecake with a thick layer of chocolate ganache.
JG:  In last year’s Shavuos edition of my magazine, Joy of Kosher, we had a candied orange cheesecake which is my all time favorite.  I love pairing cheesecake with anything citrusy and this was an orange infused cheesecake that was just amazing.  I like my cheesecake a mile high so that you almost need a shovel to dig into it.
LS:   It’s so hard to choose. I like cheesecakes with a texture change in the base, such as a crunch-like chocolate chip base or a brownie layer under the cheese. I think it adds a great dimension to the smooth creamy taste of cheesecakes.
TA:  I’m not terribly picky—so long as it’s homemade, I’ll try it!

Tamar Ansh vanilla 
Tamar Ansh vanilla
SK: I love cheesecakes that use a combination of cheeses, such as farmer cheese, Israeli cheese or ricotta, because plain cream cheese is just too rich.  I also appreciate a thick graham cracker crust that adds great texture and balance to cheese cakes.
NS: New York Style Cheesecake with a fruit topping and chocolate sauce drizzled on top.
VIN:  What kind of cheesecake will you be serving this year?
SF:  Tiramisu Cheesecake
JG:  A light lemon cheesecake featured in the Shavuos issue of Joy of Kosher.  You can’t get fat free cholov yisroel dairy products, so instead I have been working with light products which give you the best of both worlds.  Given my love of citrus with cheesecake, I think the pairing of lemon and cheesecake gives you something delicious but yet not overly sweet. 
LS: My family loves flaky cheese pretzels which are basically a sweet cheese filling on flaky dough. It’s not something I make on a regular basis but it is definitely something I make every year for Shavous and it’s the first thing that everyone polishes off.
TA:  My kids only like one type and it is so simple I’m almost embarrassed to name it here, but I will happily share the recipe with you. There is no baking involved.
SK: The 5 Minute Ricotta Cheesecake featured in the late spring issue of Bitayavon. This issue is the Italian issue and ricotta cheesecake is the classic Italian version of cheesecake. We did one basic batter, seven different ways, and for this year’s meal I am making the Pumpkin and Peanut Caramel cheesecake.
NS:  This year I will be spending the holiday with my brother and his family and my sister-in-law Shany is an incredible cook.  It’s always a real treat eating her food!
VIN:  What kind of interesting cheesecake trends you have been noticing lately?
SF:  Everything is up for grabs these days.  Red Velvet Cheesecake anyone?

JG: I happen to like my cheesecake with fruit but lately people have started throwing in everything but the kitchen sink and I think it is overdone.  I would sooner make a plain cheesecake than one of those crazy recipes, where it seems like everyone is trying to outdo everyone else.  While those recipes are great in concept, they are just too much. 
LS: People are very into decorating cheesecakes these days. I guess it’s hard to come up with new flavors of cheesecake so I think it’s all about the presentation.
TA:  Too many of them!
SK: Ricotta cheesecake, which makes a lighter cheesecake with more texture than an all cream cheese cake, is popping up on menus in many restaurants. Also, adding various nontraditional flavors to cheesecakes is very popular which is why the latest issue of Bitayavon features seven different flavors for the same basic batter ranging from acidic (lemon) to coffee to chocolate and even pumpkin.  Savory cheesecakes are another interesting cheesecake preparation. While cheesecake is normally associated as a sweet, rich dessert it can be used as an appetizer by omitting the sugar and vanilla and adding savory ingredients such as sun dried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, basil, fresh herbs, roasted garlic, asparagus, spinach etc. The options are limitless. 
NS:  Don’t be afraid to experiment!  Ginger, grapefruit and rhubarb are not the traditional flavors you would expect but taste great as a subtle addition to your cheesecake. If you don’t want to add them directly to the cheesecake, create a syrup that can be lightly drizzled over your dessert. Enjoy every bite of your decadent desserts this holiday!

Chocolate Cookie Cheesecake

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8

This recipe allows you to sidestep using a mixer by using already whipped cream cheese. It is very simple to make and is delicious and fun as well. Using the sandwich cookies provides the taste of a good crust without having to do all the work.

2 8 ounce containers of whipped cream cheese
½ cup sour cream
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons flour
3 eggs
1 8 ounce package of mini chocolate sandwich cookies
Cinnamon (optional)

Mix ingredients in order listed, excluding sandwich cookies. Pour into a greased 8x8 baking pan or pie pan.  Place mini sandwich cookies into batter so that the cookies will be peeking through batter, sprinkling top with cinnamon if desired.  Bake in preheated 350 oven for 30 - 40 minutes.

Passover Brownies:  The Ultimate Cheesecake Brownie

This recipe combines my Mom’s cheesecake recipe, with her Passover brownies. I make this for Shavuot either in a graham cracker crust or with a non Passover brownie recipe.  When I am really pressed for time, I just use a ready made brownie mix from the box! 

Brownie Batter:
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of potato starch
1/2 cup of cocoa (use Hershey’s cocoa for the best taste!)

Cheesecake Batter:
3 8oz. containers of whipped cream cheese
1 cup of sugar
4 eggs
1 8oz. container of sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Prepare the brownie batter and pour into a greased 9 by 13 pan. Combine the cheesecake ingredients in a mixing bowl and layer on top of the brownie batter. Bake uncovered  at 350 for about an hour. When you remove the pan from the oven the cheesecake will not be completely firm but will harden outside the oven. These are also great served as cupcakes. Bake them in cupcake pans on 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Easy No-Bake Cheesecake Ideas

By: Tamar Ansh,

2 1/2 cups (500) grams soft white cream cheese (Gveena l’vana 5% for Israel)
1 cup sour cream (for Israel, use one container Shamenet)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered vanilla pudding (about one half box of powdered pudding mix)
8 ounces Rich’s whip
1/4 cup cocoa
Plain cookie wafers, tea biscuits, or ‘bisquiteem’ – some vanilla, some chocolate, to be able to make both chocolate and vanilla cakes
3 tablespoons cocoa, reserved

Mix the soft cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, pudding powder until smooth. In a separate bowl, whip up the Rich’s whip and fold gently into the cheese mixture.

If you plan to make both a chocolate and a vanilla cake, you will need to double the cheese batter recipe to get a full pan’s worth of each.  Use disposable foil pans just a tad smaller than 9 by 13. 

Now simply layer the ‘cakes’. Put down a thin layer of cheese on the bottom of the pan to keep the cookies from sliding around. Layer on one layer of cookies followed by a thick layer of cheese mixture.  Repeat, ending with a top layer of cookies. You can even have your kids do it alone, as mine like to do.

For the vanilla cheesecake, melt 100 grams (about 4 ounces) dairy chocolate and drizzle on top of the cake with a spoon.  Alternately, mix some of the cheese mixture with the cocoa listed above until smooth and then smear on top of cake to make a frosting.
Cover the cake and refrigerate overnight. By the next day, the cheeses and cookies will have soaked into each other, creating a real cheesecake texture, with absolutely no baking at all!

Tiramisu Cheesecake

A light fluffy change from the traditional cheesecake. You will love the slight espresso flavor mixed with the creamy cheese. The preferred ladyfingers are the soft sponge-cake kind. I have seen them in many supermarkets near the fruit section. If you can’t find them, don’t panic, you can use the hard ladyfinger cookies, cut in half to line the outside. Don’t forget the grated chocolate for the top; it looks very pretty. You can freeze this cake in an airtight container or well wrapped in foil. To thaw, loosen the covering and leave in the refrigerator for at least a day.

      14  chocolate sandwich cookies
        2  tablespoons butter, melted
  12-14             soft sponge ladyfingers (3-ounce package)
        1  teaspoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee
        2  tablespoons whole milk
        2  (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
        1  (8-ounce) package Mascarpone cheese, softened
        1  cup sugar
        1  tablespoon cornstarch
        1  teaspoon vanilla
        3  large eggs
        1  (8-ounce) container sour cream
            milk chocolate bar, for grating

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process the cookies until they are finely crushed into crumbs. Add the butter and mix to moisten.
Press the crumbs into the bottom of an ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Cut the ladyfingers in half, crosswise. Line the ladyfingers around the sides of the pan, rounded side out and cut side down.
In a small cup or bowl mix the espresso powder in the milk, stirring to dissolve. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl beat the cream cheese and Mascarpone until combined and fluffy. Gradually add sugar. Beat on medium-high until smooth. Turn the speed to low and beat in the cornstarch, vanilla, and eggs until just combined. Stir espresso mixture into the batter.
Pour the batter into the ladyfinger-lined pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Center will appear nearly set when gently shaken. Remove from oven. Immediately spread the sour cream on top, starting at the center and going almost to the edges.
Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Use a small knife or spatula to make sure the ladyfingers are not sticking to the sides of the pan. Cool at least one hour. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours. Sprinkle grated chocolate over the top of the cheesecake.
Yield: 12 servings

Breakfast Cheesecake
Recipe from "Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking" by Leah Schapira
Published by Artscroll

My mother serves this for breakfast every Shabbos morning and my family polishes two cakes off completely. You can use reduced fat cream cheese and reduced fat sour cream for a lighter version of the cheesecake. You can also serve this in a pyrex baking dish or in a spring form pan for a more elegant presentation. This is my daughter’s favorite, as she says, “I loooovvveee Bubbe’s cheesecake.” Although this recipe makes three pies, this cheesecake freezes well so simply wrap the extras if there are any and freeze to enjoy later. 

1 lb. farmer cheese
1 ½ cups sour cream (3/4 container)
1 8 oz. container whipped cream cheese
6 large eggs, separated
¼ cup orange juice
1 Tbsp. vanilla sugar
1 ½ cups sugar, divided
3 round graham cracker pie shells
3 Tbsp. flour, heaping

Sour cream topping:
1 ½ cups sour cream (3/4 container)
1 Tbsp. vanilla sugar
1 Tbsp. sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a large bowl using a spoon, mix farmer cheese,  sour cream and cream cheese.  Add 6 egg yolks, orange juice, vanilla sugar and ¾ cup sugar. Mix till incorporated. Add flour.   In a mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the remaining ¾ cup sugar.  Fold beaten whites into the cheese mixture. Divide filling into the 3 pie shells and bake for 40 minutes until slightly golden at the edges. 

 To prepare topping, combine sour cream and sugars.  Remove cheesecakes from oven and let cool 5 minutes. When still warm, divide the sour cream topping between the three cheesecakes. With the back of a spoon, starting from the center, circle the topping across the top until it covers the entire cake.   If serving for dessert, you can drizzle with dulce de leche, caramel or desired topping. 

Candied Orange Cheesecake
I love candied orange peels. (I know it seems like I love everything. Guess I just love good food; but I share only the best of the best with you!)

2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter

Cheese Filling:
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 packages cream cheese, room temperature (8-ounce packages)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs

2 medium oranges
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine cookie crumbs in a large bowl with sugar and butter and stir until moist. Press crumb mixture evenly onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and set. Cool completely.
2. Combine orange juice and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until mixture is reduced. Set aside to cool.
3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add orange zest, sour cream, flour, and salt and beat 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time mixing well in between each addition. Mix in cooled orange juice mixture and beat to combine. Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the crust and place the springform pan in a large roasting pan. Pour warm water into roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake 1 ½ hours or until just set in the center. Cool 1 hour on a wire rack and then at least 4 hours in the refrigerator or overnight.
4. Thinly slice oranges and place in a medium saucepan. Add sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook 20 to 30 minutes or until oranges are translucent and tender. Let cool slightly. Remove orange slices with a fork and gently place all over top of cooled cheesecake. Drizzle ¼ cup of the remaining syrup over the cake and cut into 8 slices to serve.

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