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Dairy does it for Shavuot


Coinciding with Memorial Day this year is Shavuot, the holiday that celebrates when the Israelites, having escaped Egypt, received the law from God. One of the traditions associated with holiday is that we eat dairy foods. There is no stipulation in Jewish law that we do so – some think it comes from the notion that Israel is a land flowing with milk and honey, or that the Israelites, upon receiving the law, knew their meat and dishes was not kosher and played it safe by eating dairy. It’s a strong custom in both Ashkenazi and Sephardi traditions, nonetheless. Blintzes and bourekas are among the foods many eat on the holiday, and cheesecake is a favorite in many traditions.

Since we gave you a fleishig, or meat, recipe for Memorial Day, we thought we’d offer you milchig, or dairy, one for Shavuot, with a cheesecake of our own.

And in case you’re kosher, we know not to eat them in the same meal!



1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
5 tablespoons butter, melted

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 cup white sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and melted butter. Mix well and press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Beat in sour cream and heavy cream. Blend in the flour and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add eggs one at a time. Pour batter over crust.

Place springform pan in a larger baking dish and pour in hot water halfway up the springform pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until center is almost set (filling will be soft). Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight before opening the sides of the pan. Serve with your favorite fruit or fruit topping, pour caramel over it, or just have plain!

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