Tuesday, May 14, 2013


The Jewish holiday of Shavuot starts this evening, so I thought I'd post an easy and delicious recipe for the holiday. This is perfect for a festive dairy meal.. and the lemons are all about the holiday, too! MEYER LEMON CHEESECAKE with Chocolate Crust.

The Shavuot holiday celebrates the giving of the Torah. One of the most popular customs on Shavuot is to eat dairy foods. A possible explanation-- there are many-- comes from the Song of Songs, verse 4:11, that says "milk and honey are under your tongue." Some have said that the Torah is like the milk in this verse. Like milk, the Torah sustains its people. Therefore, a dairy meal on Shavuot celebrates the nourishing ability of the Torah. Shavuot is also known as Chag HaKatzir (the Harvest Festival), since it coincides with the annual wheat harvest in Israel. In ancient Temple times, Jews would bring their first fruits as sacrifices. So I think lemons are perfect to add to this dairy dessert. Make a Chocolate crust, and it's really delicious!

The recipe for the Cheesecake is adapted from Epicurious. I've changed it up in several ways. Since I have Meyer Lemons in my yard, I use them to give this recipe a tangy/sweet taste. I also make a Chocolate Crust. No big surprise there! And, this cheesecake is great just about any time!


Chocolate Cookie Crust
2 cups chocolate wafer cookies (grind in food processor)
6 tablespoons sweet butter, melted
5 8-ounce packages (Philadelphia brand) cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 large eggs
3 cups (24 ounces) sour cream
2 tablespoons (packed) finely grated Meyer lemon peel
2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice


For crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Stir cookie crumbs and butter in medium bowl until evenly moistened.
Press mixture onto bottom of 9-inch-diameter removable-bottom cheesecake pan with 
3-inch-high sides.
Bake crust about 10-12 minutes. Cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
Stack 3 large sheets of foil on work surface. Place same cake pan in center. Gather foil snugly around pan bottom and up sides to waterproof.

For filling:
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until smooth and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar, then salt. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in sour cream, grated lemon peel, and lemon juice. Pour filling into pan.
Place wrapped cake pan in large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cake pan. Bake cake until filling is slightly puffed and moves only slightly when pan is shaken gently, about 1 hour 25 minutes. Remove cake pan from water bath; remove foil. Cool cake in pan on rack 2 hours. Chill uncovered until cold; cover and keep chilled at least 1 day and up to 2 days.
Cut around pan sides; carefully loosen pan bottom from sides and push up pan bottom to release cake. Place cake (still on pan bottom) on platter.

The pan: It must be three inches high to hold all the filling. If your nine-inch springform pan is that high, it can be used instead.

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