A refrain popular among the new oleh crowd is: “How can I replicate my favorite cheesecake recipe using unfamiliar Israeli ingredients?”
However, the truth is that there are now several varieties of Israeli cream cheese. Moreover, one can splurge (both financially and calorically) and purchase the readily-available Philadelphia-brand cream cheese.
Yet, back when we made aliyah, there were fewer options.
But after several years of sampling cheesecakes (it was a rough job, but somebody had to do it), I finally put together a cheesecake recipe which suits the Shiputzim family’s collective palate.
I should note that the recipe for the filling comes from Our Shiputzim Military Expert Be-All-You-Can-Be’s wife; the topping is my mother’s recipe; and I got the idea for the crust from the Israel-Food list.
Say cheese… cake
- 150 grams of chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed (We like the Hadar brand.)
- 1 kilo of 5% gvinah levanah (literally, “white cheese” –one could use 4 packages of cream cheese, softened, instead)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 TBSP vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 2 containers (1.5 cups) sour cream (i.e., shamenet chamutzah for the Hebraically-oriented amongst you)
- 3 TBSP sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place cookie crumbs in buttered 9” (23 cm) spring-form pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool somewhat.
Next, prepare filling. Beat gvinah levanah, sugar, and vanilla until well-blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing slowly. Pour filling over crust and bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until the center is almost set. Let cool for 15 minutes.
Finally, mix all the topping ingredients together and pour over cake. Bake at 400 degrees for 7-10 minutes.
Refrigerate for at least four hours (or overnight) before serving.
Note: On the Israel-Food list, someone recently suggested that better results can be achieved by draining the gvinah levanah overnight. I’m considering using this idea; I’ll keep you posted.
!בתאבון וחג שמח