Shavuot is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the wheat harvest and the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai seven weeks after the Exodus from Egypt. What does that have to do with cheesecake? Different theories abound, but all we can say for sure is that cool cheesecake is the dessert of choice for this late spring festival.

And what better way to enjoy cheesecake than Israeli-style? Click on the video above to watch how it’s done. The recipe appears below.

Executive Producer – Jonathan Baruch

Producer/Director – Haim Silberstein

Chef – Jessica Halfin

Camera – Ari Amit

Israeli Cheesecake

Crust:

Crumbs from 1 package Lotus cookies (250 grams; 31 tea cookies)

¼ cup butter

Batter:

1.5 kilos 9% white cheese (or 1 kilo sour cream plus ½ kilo ricotta cheese)

1¼ cup sugar

6 eggs

Teaspoon vanilla

Pinch lemon zest

4 tablespoons corn flour (cornstarch)

4 tablespoons flour

Topping:

Sliced strawberries

Warmed strawberry jam for glaze

Instructions:

  1. Combine cheese(s) and sugar. Mix well.
  2. Add eggs, vanilla extract and lemon zest, and mix to combine.
  3. Sift corn flour and flour over the cheese mixture, and whisk into the mix.

4.Pour into a paper-lined 9×13-inch baking pan and bake at 180C (350F) in a water bath for 40-50 minutes until the middle has just set.

  1. Remove from oven and let cool at room temperature, then cool in the refrigerator 4-6 hours.
  2. Once completely chilled, decorate as desired and serve. You can use whipped cream and sliced strawberries or garnish with fresh glazed fruit.