For Shavuot splash out with the perfect cheesecake. These 5 tips show you how.
Shavuot is a wonderful time of year. This special holiday celebrates the giving of the Torah, so dairy foods are traditional for festive yom tov meals because the rules for meat-eating were established only after the giving of the Torah. Many of us use Shavuot as the one time a year to experiment with decadent dairy dessert recipes, most notably the fabulous, rich and unique cheesecake.
Cheesecake recipes can be simple or complex, but as long as they’re not overbaked, they are uniformly delicious. Keep reading and get 35 Delicious Cheesecake Recipes to choose from.
For Unforgettable Shavuot Cheesecake Follow These 5 Tips
1. Cheesecake is not cake, it’s custard!
The biggest mistake people make about cheesecake is assuming it’s a cake and should be baked as such, until dry and firm. Rather, cheesecake is a baked custard, an egg and sugar concoction, which happens to contain a smooth cheese, such as cream cheese, ricotta, cottage or farmer’s, to give it a unique and decadent depth of flavor. These cheeses only firm up after they have been chilled, so it is better to gently bake cheesecake at a low temperature, and leave it to cool completely before trying to cut or serve it.
2. The more eggs and fat in the recipe, the more you need a water bath to ensure even baking.
Baking cheesecakes with a shallow pan of water surrounding them is a classic French approach that ensures that the custard bakes slowly and evenly. If the egg volume in the recipe outweighs the cheese, it’s best to use the water bath so that you don’t end up with scrambled eggs at the outer corners of your cheesecake.
3. Minimize cheesecake cracks and imperfections with a gelatin product.
You don't have to live with the cracks and sunken middles associated with cheesecakes, with the inclusion of kosher gelatin, your cheesecake will be photo-ready and perfect from the moment it comes out of the oven to until it is served. Just dissolve a packet of unflavored gelatin with a small amount of warm water, and add it to the eggs before beating them.
4. Mix cheesecake batter only until incorporated.
While well-beaten eggs are an important part of any custard, don’t mix your cheesecake batter too much beyond creating a smooth product, especially if your recipe contains flour. Since you are creating a delicate product, there’s no purpose to developing the gluten, and mixing the eggs too much with the other ingredients will only serve to bind and toughen up the cake’s chemical composition. As is often the case, less is more.
5. Watch the fat.
We don’t like to be the bad guy who is going to reduce the butter content of your favorite cheesecake that you make only once a year, but it’s important to try (at least) to keep control of the fat and calorie content of your cheesecake, to prevent one slice from packing a 2,000 calorie punch, an entire day’s worth of calories!
Often, there are unnecessary calories present in recipes for crust, so you can often reduce by half the melted butter or oil in those, or replace it with apple juice or unsweetened applesauce. In this Oreo® Experience Cheesecake, for example, we simply did not add melted butter to the ground Oreos, patted them into a pan, and then poured in the cheesecake batter without first baking the crust. The weight and moisture of the cheesecake batter more than helped build a crispy, crumbly crust, and no one missed the butter.
You can even choose light cream cheese with amazing results.
Neufchâtel cheese, which is also marketed as the low-fat version of cream cheese, works just as well if not better than full-fat cheese in most cheesecake recipes. It contains 33 percent less fat and more moisture than regular cream cheese, which makes for a slightly airier cheesecake, which I like. For thicker, sink-your-teeth-in New York-style cheesecakes, you may want to stick with full-fat cream cheese. American farmer’s cheese is also a Neufchâtel-style cheese.
One can also be creative with cheesecake toppings to reduce the overall calorie count. As Shavuot is a great time of year for fresh berries, a plain low-fat cheesecake topped with fresh blueberries and raspberries can be amazingly decadent.
35 Incredible Cheesecake Recipes
A Step by Step Guide to Perfect Cheesecake
Here is a step-by-step how-to guide for creating a simple, delicious and creamy with options to make it exactly as you like.
Step 1: Gather materials
- 1 - 8-inch springform pan (a round pan with high, straight sides, about 2.5 to 3 inches high. The bottom of the pan can be removed from the sides when the clamp is released. )
- Hand Wisk or electric mixer
- Rolling pin
- Crust Ingredients
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (Pulse whole Graham crackers in a food processor to make crumbs)
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
- Cheese Filling
8 ounces cream cheese, softened*
1 teaspoon of baking powder
¼ cup of milk
1 cup confectioners' sugar
Step 2: Preheat the oven
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Step 3: Make the Crust
Pour the melted butter and sugar over the graham cracker crumbs and mix them together well. Then use a roller and roll it flat. Butter an 8 inch baking pan and even out the crust mixture on the baking pan by pressing it down and to the sides to form the crust for the cheesecake.
Step 4: Bake the Crust
Bake the crust base in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes.
Step 5 : Make the Cheese Filling
Add the sugar to the cream cheese in a mixing bowl, then using a hand whisk or an electric mixer blend the ingredients together until the mixture is well combined. One at a time break the eggs into the mixing bowl and gradually stir them in.
Finally, add in the milk and baking powder and stir well.
Step 6: Add the cheese filling to the baking pan
Pour the mixture over the prepared crust and even it out by giving it a little shake.
Step 7: Bake
Place the tin in the center of the oven and bake the cheesecake for 60 minutes at 350°F.
Step 8: Remove from the oven and chill
Take the cheesecake out of the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool down gently (see tip below). Then put it in the fridge keeping it in its baking pan and let it chill overnight.
Tip - A well-baked cheesecake will be puffed around the edges. When shaken, about an inch in diameter in the center should jiggle like custard would. There should not be any wet or liquid spots in the center.
Step 9: Serve
Take the cheesecake out of the fridge and gently release from springform pan. If you did not use a springform pan run a knife around the edges to help release it. Then, gently ease it out. Slice it up with a warmed knife. You can warm the knife with hot water and dry it. Repeat each cut with warmed knife, and you will get a clean cut of cheesecake.
Optional cheesecake toppings
Cherry pie filling
Your favorite fresh fruit
Cooked Strawberry Topping:
Using 1 pint of strawberries, cleaned and Stemmed, cut about 1/3 in half. In a saucepan over medium high heat, combine strawberries, 1/3 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a blender, puree about 1/3 of sauce, then mix back into remainder. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve, then pour over cheesecake.
*The cream cheese must be softened before mixing. If you cannot wait for it to soften at room temperature, you can soften the cream cheese in the microwave oven. Unwrap the cream cheese and scoop it out to a microwavable bowl. Microwave it on high temperature for 15 seconds. Add another 15 seconds for each additional bar of cream cheese.
Got any cheesecake tips? Leave us a comment!