The weather's warming up and Yom Ha'Atzmaut is just about here -- I'd say this calls for some cheesecake squares, Israeli style.
Israel is often praised for its dairy products, even the basic ones. My Canadian mother-in-law says the milk is better here, and the cheeses are wonderful, too.
If there was ever a day for celebrating Israel, Yom Ha'Atzmaut is it. Why not bring the celebration into the kitchen? These blue and white (sorry, kachol v'lavan) cheesecake squares are made with gvina levana, a delicious soft white cheese that makes a frequent appearance at Israeli breakfasts. (It's similar in consistency to sour cream or yogurt and is sold in Lakewood and some parts of New York.)
These squares are light enough for the warm weather but rich enough to satisfy your cheesecake craving. And with that pretty blue swirl, they're basically irresistible.
Here are the basics:
First, crush up some chocolate wafers for the crust.
Mix in some melted butter, and press the mixture into the bottom of your baking dish. Stick it in the oven for a couple of minutes and set aside.
Next, beat together the ingredients for the filling and spread it over the crust. Reserve a small amount of the filling to dye blue and drop in small spoonfuls over the unbaked cheesecake.
Now here's the fun part (okay, the food coloring was fun, too): Use a knife to gently swirl the blue through the creamy white. Kachol v'lavan, people, here it is.
Now just bake, let cool...
...and slice off the edges to create a perfect square. Eat the edges, of course.
Your perfect square then becomes lots of little perfect squares. Mmmm mmm.
I suppose you could round out the meal with some Israeli salad.
Check out the recipe: Kachol V Lavan Cheesecake Squares
Editor's Note: I made the cheesecake with more readily available Greek yogurt and it was a bit tangy but very good.