There is just something magical about cheesecake. The velvety texture, smooth, (hopefully) crack-free top (whipped cream can fix all flaws) and crumbly crust. I’m getting excited just thinking about it. I’ll never forget my first bite of the rich treat.
Despite growing up very close to the cheesecake mecca of New York City, I first sampled the dessert at a chain restaurant with a very similar name to their prized final course. This version was peanut butter, because if you’re going to go big, go really big. It was decadent and creamy and pretty darn addicting.
But you don’t have to schelp to the nearest shopping mall to sample cheesecake; bake your own! Though I’ll warn you: things can go wrong. Overmixing leads to air pockets, cold ingredients will yield a less-than smooth cake, and a leaky water bath just makes one big soggy mess. If the stress doesn’t scare you, Shavuot is the ideal time to make your own.
Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah to the Jews on Mount Sinai. With the Torah came all the commandments, including keeping kosher. The Israelites did not have the necessary tools to properly butcher an animal for a meat meal, plus they were hungry now, so a dairy meal was much simpler to prepare.
Some Jews traditionally stay up all night on Shavuot to read from the Book of Ruth and other Jewish texts. When Moses went to Mount Sinai to receive the Torah, the other Jews who were supposed to accompany him overslept! So we study to make up for this mistake.
I don’t know about you, but I need study snacks. And caffeine. Lots of caffeine. But sometimes only a sugar rush will do. Cheese is a go-to diary item for Shavuot. Blintzes, noodle kugel and, of course, everyone’s favorite cheesecake. And the delicate treat seems especially appropriate for this holiday celebrating the receiving of the Torah. To make a cheesecake, you have to be patient, precise and accurate, similar to some lessons we all have learned.
Cheesecakes are definitely special. You aren’t going to go to all the trouble for just any Monday. That’s what pound cake is for (sorry, pound cake.)
Here are ten crafty cheesecake recipes that are perfect to make this Shavuot:
1. Lemon Cheesecake by Taste and Tell
Creamy and rich, this cheesecake has a cookie crust and is topped with a tart lemon curd, making it as beautiful to look at as it is tasty to eat. The tangy lemon balances out the rich cheesecake.
2. Greek Yogurt Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Maple Peanut Clusters by With Salt and Wit
A decadent and creamy dessert made with Greek yogurt instead! That makes it healthy, right? With peanut butter in the cake and nut clusters on top, this one is a must for peanut lovers.
3. Black-and-White Cookie Cheesecake by What Jew Wanna Eat
Two quintessential NYC treats melded into one: the black-and-white cookie meets cheesecake with a cookie crust and lots of rich chocolate and vanilla glaze on top.
4. Individual Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes by An Edible Mosaic
How cute are these? Bite-sized cheesecakes with a cookie crust mean you can have twice as many.
5. Neapolitan Zebra Cheesecake by Overtime Cook
Isn’t this cheesecake gorgeous? Luckily, it only looks complicated. Just make the quick batters and spoon them on each other carefully to wow your guests.
6. Guava Cheesecake by the Jewish Food Experience
Not your average cheesecake! This version inspired by the popular combination of soft Mexican Manchego cheese with slices of guava has not one, but four layers! A cookie crust, bright guava paste, cream cheese filling and a slick of sour cream.
7. Blueberry Cheesecake Lighter Version by Give Recipe
Another healthier cheesecake, but you’d never know by tasting it. Creamy yet light with tons of tangy blueberries on top.
8. Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Vanilla Bean Cheesecake by Courtney’s Sweets
Vanilla bean gives this cheesecake a sophisticated flavor. And it’s covered in an entire container of strawberries and drizzled with rich chocolate.
9. Caramel Apple Pecan Cheesecake by Chocolate Moosey
For the year-round lover of fall, this version is topped with cooked apples, pecans and a homemade caramel sauce.
10. Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Nutella Ganache Topping by Redhead Baker
Creamy peanut butter cheesecake is layered over an Oreo crust and topped with rich Nutella ganache! You had me at Nutella.