There is a SECRET to filling hamentaschen. I've heard so many of you complaining about your fillings overflowing and oozing. It's time to share the secret in preventing this from happening… and it's actually quite simple. Once you have filled the hamentaschen, seal them tightly by pinching the dough firmly. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and STRAIGHT IN THE FREEZER for at least 2 HOURS (and up to 3 days). When you're ready to bake, put them straight from the freezer into the oven, while still frozen.THIS WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING!
It's all about the filling. I went crazy with over-the-top fillings and had a lot of fun making them with my kids.
My personal favorite was a take on Ferrero Rocher; chocolate with a whole chocolate covered hazelnut in the center…But my kids went gaga for Rocky Road- Rolo chocolate, mini marshmallows and pretzel bits drizzled with melted marshmallow glaze! And, I can't forget to mention our Cookies & Cream Hamentashen, filled with broken-up chocolate and vanilla Oreos and a Hershey's Kiss, and drizzled with milk chocolate. Look, I know a lot of this sounds intense and time consuming, but here's what I will say to you: Try not to make a big deal out of this. I didn't plan on making any of these flavors. I literally opened my pantry and used whatever it was I had inside to come up with these awesome fillings. I encourage you to use your imagination, be creative. Instead of making a whole batch of hamentashen with the same filling, mix and match, and have fun with it. Look, at the end of the day, I'm an apricot-filling-kind-of-a-girl, but it's a children's holiday after all, isn't it?
P.S. If you are going to fill your hamentashen with store-bought jams or preserves, I highly recommend mixing a tablespoon of chia seeds into the jam before using it as filling. Aside from the chia being super-healthy, it acts as a thickening agent without changing the taste and prevents your hamentashen from leaking jam all over and burning.. To read more about chia, click here to check out my good friend, Alexandra's blog, where she writes all about healthy foods in a normal, realistic and non-frightening fashion that also happens to be really funny.
Basic Hamentashen Dough Recipe
Below is a great go-to hamentashen dough recipe that is dairy free. This is an oil based dough that is versatile, easy to work with, and freezes well. If you want a truly buttery, crisp recipe, click here to see the one I posted last year.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup rice bran or canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
zest from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups flour
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla and lemon zest. Beat until all is well combined. Switch to a paddle mixer (or use a spatula to fold in), and add the dry ingredients until a nice, soft, non-sticky dough is formed. Divide the dough into 5 balls and wrap in plastic wrap. Store in the fridge until ready to roll out and form. You may also freeze the dough until ready to thaw and use.
Use a rolling pin to roll out the ball of dough on a piece of parchment paper. Use a glass or a cookie cutter to cut the dough into 4-inch rounds. Place your filling (see below for filling recipes) into the center of each circle, pinch the edges together to fold into a triangle. Pinch the seams tightly, leaving a tiny opening that reveals the filling in the center. Place the hamentashen on parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until golden. Repeat, until you've used all the dough or freeze the dough for another time. Hamentashen may also be frozen after baking.
Note: There are no specific measurements for these recipes. Just eyeball it, you really can't screw it up!
Rocky Road Filling
Chocolate pieces of your choice, I used Rolo, Hershey's Kisses and m&m's work very well too
Pretzels, broken up into small pieces
Marshmallow Fluff or melted marshmallows
Mix up all the ingredients in a small bowl and combine. Place a teaspoon-full in the center of each dough round. Fold the dough into a hamantashen. Bake. After baking and cooling, drizzle Marshmallow Fluff over sparingly.
Cookies & Cream
Broken up pieces of your favorite cookies
Chocolate or peanut butter spread (something that will allow the cookie bits to stick to the dough)
Place a small dollop of your spread in the center of each dough round. Top with your broken up cookies. Fold the dough into a hamentashen. After baking and cooling, drizzle with your favorite melted chocolate.
You can use actual Ferrero Rocher chocolates here, just break each one into tiny pieces OR
Whole hazelnuts, peeled and roasted
Good quality chocolate, melted
Cocoa powder, for dusting
Dip the hazelnuts in the melted chocolate and allow them to dry a bit on a plate. Place a teaspoon of Nutella in the center of each dough round. Place a chocolate coated hazelnut in the center of the Nutella. Fold the dough into a hamentashen. After baking and cooling, dust with good quality cocoa powder.
I've recently heard a lot of buzz surrounding cauliflower pizza dough, and I wanted to see for myself if all the hype was warranted. What is cauliflower pizza dough? Basically it is a pizza crust made from ground cauliflower, without using any flour at all- a healthier alternative to regular pizza dough. By grinding the cauliflower in a food processor, the cauliflower transforms to a totally different, and malleable form, creating a crispy, delicious crust. I tried a few recipes, but my favorite is from a blog called Detoxinista.com! The taste was truly awesome, but I must say that it does take a few steps, so I would definitely recommend doubling the recipe and making 2 batches at a time..Here's how:
The other night I went to one of my favorite restaurants in the city and the chef sent me over a bowl of delicious vegetable soup. Every spoonful was filled with carrots, celery, chickpeas and squash. I loved the addition of slightly mashed chickpeas- it added nuttiness and bite to the soup. After tasting the first spoonful, I called the chef over to make certain that there was no meat or chicken stock in this soup- it tasted too good to be true. He assured me that there wasn't and that the chickpeas were what really added a kick of flavor. Not your usual vegetable soup though- it was thick and silky, but light tasting. So, of course the next morning, I attempted to replicate it at home. Only, my version was even better!
I posted the picture of this gorgeous soup on Instagram and everyone went crazy demanding the recipe. So, here it is.
Chickpea & Carrot Herb Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced small
5 carrots, peeled and diced small
3 ribs of celery, diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups vegetable stock
2- 15 ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and mashed slightly with a potato masher or a large fork
1/4 cup brown lentil, rinsed
1- 12 ounce package frozen butternut squash puree, thawed
1 tablespoon herbes de Provences
1 bay leaf, dried
Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, and saute until light brown, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots and celery, and cook 5 minutes longer. Stir in the garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock, chickpeas, and the lentils. Stir the soup and bring to a boil, cover and reduce to medium-low. Simmer, covered, for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, stir in the butternut squash puree, the herbes de Provences, and the bay leaf. (If the soup is too thick, add a cup of water or stock.) Season generously with salt and pepper. Cook on medium, covered, for an additional 20 minutes. Enjoy!
May be frozen.
It is traditional to celebrate Hanukkah by eating foods fried in oil. Using oil in hanukkah foods is symbolic of the Hanukkah miracle- a small jar of oil that miraculously burned for 8 consecutive nights. Look, I like any excuse to deep fry! And, the ultimate deep fried goodie is without a doubt, the donut. A soufganiya is an Israeli jelly-filled donut- no hole in the middle. These little beauties make an appearance once a year on Hanukkah. I grew up eating my mother's homemade version- no jelly, but dipped in a simple syrup straight out of the frying pan. Every year, I try a new sufganiya recipe…This year, I've found my favorite to date. I'm not going to say that these are easy and quick, like most of my recipes. Making sufganiyot is a project: you need time to let the dough rise, and patience with frying…but it's worth it. This recipe comes from the Balaboosta cookbook- I knew I could count on Einat Admony for an honest, straightforward recipe. Unlike most recipes that call for 5 cups or more of flour, this one calls for 3 cups and yields 15-20 donuts, as opposed 50 or more donuts… More flour means more work. This recipe is a winner.
Recipe from: "Balaboosta: Bold Mediterranean Recipes to Feed the People You Love" by Einat Admony
yield 15-20 donuts
3 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
3/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup sugar, plus sugar for dusting
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon brandy
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
Canola Oil for deep frying and for the bowl
Blueberry or raspberry preserves
Confectioner's sugar, for dusting
Place the four in the large mixing bowl of a stand mixer (If you don't have a free-standing mixer, you can use your hands).
Create a large well in the center and pour in 1/4 cup of the milk, the yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a seperate bowl, stir the remaining 1/2 cup milk, the remaining sugar, eggs, salt, brandy, butter, and lemon zest.
With the dough hook attached, mix the yeast mixture on low speed until the four is combined. Slowly add the milk mixture, beating just until well combined, about 3 minutes. Crank up the setting to high, and knead for 5 minutes.
Shape the dough into a large ball and transfer into a bowl that has been greased with canola oil or spray. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warmish place (ie. not near an open window). After a few hours (2-3), the dough should double in size.
Lightly flour the surface of your work area, and roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Any eccess dough can be re-rolled out and cut into rounds. Use 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutters or a drining glass to cut the soufganiyot rounds. Place them on a lightly flour-dusted baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 15 minutes in a warm place.
Meanwhile, heat a deep skillet with 2 inches of canola oil to 365. I honestly never use a thermometer. I just heat it slowly over medium-high heat, and then reduce it to medium when I start frying. Working in small batches, fry the sufganiyot until light golden brown and puffed on one side, then flip over and do the other side. I say light golden because they continue to darken even when they come out of the pan, so take them out of the pan when they are a shade or two lighter than you want them to be.
Fill a pastry bag or a ziplock bag with the preserves. Make a small hole in the center of each donut and squeeze a some preserves in it, just until it reaches the surface. I personally don't fill my donuts- a heavy sprinkling of confectioner's sugar hits the spot for me. So, sprinkle generously with confectioner's sugar just before serving (if you sprinkle too early, the donuts will absorb all the sugar and you won't be able to see it).
Make a well in the center of your flour and add 1/4 cup lukewarm milk, yeast & 1 tspn sugar
In a separate bowl, mix the milk, eggs, salt, brandy, butter & zest
Once your yeast mixture is frothy, turn the mixer on to mix it up
Knead the dough on high for 5 minutes
Place in a greased bowl
Fry in hot oil and watch them puff up befire your very eyes!
I drained mine on paper towels, then dusted them with icing sugar
How could they be bad? They aren't. They're delicious.
I can’t pretend that I host Thanksgiving dinner. I never have. Usually, I just show up with a great bouquet of flowers, or an orange lacquered picture frame. This holiday is 100% percent my mother-in-law’s. It’s her forte. And, she does a hell of a job. I will never forget my first ever American Thanksgiving. Walking into my (now in-law’s, back then, boyfriends’ parent’s) house, everywhere I looked, I saw turkey paraphernalia. Rows of tables, adorned in red and brown linens, scattered with chestnuts. A crackling fire burning, there was football on the big screen, and everyone was smiling. I literally hid in the bathroom and called my sister in Montreal: “I feel like I’m on a sitcom”. I couldn’t believe that this was reality. That everyone cautiously chose to wear plaid shirts and brown turtlenecks. As I stood with the huddled crowd, staring into a bright oven, watching those marshmallow-tops singe, I actually thought that this was all for me. Turns out I was wrong. This is actually how they roll.
I’d feel like a fake offering suggestions on how to host your best Thanksgiving dinner ever. What I will share are my awesome thanksgiving biscotti recipe made with walnuts. white chocolate & cinnmaon. They are killer- and they also happen to make the perfect hostess gift.
Kim's Thanksgiving Biscotti (made with walnuts, white chocolate & cinnamon)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
1/2 cup light tasting olive oil (not extra virgin)
a pinch salt
a pinch of allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
For the Cinnamon Glaze:
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon milk or water
Preheat oven 350. Have a parchment-lined baking sheet handy. Use an electric mixer to mix together the sugars, oil, and egg. Add the remaining ingredients, and stir until a sticky batter forms. Use wet hands to form the batter into 3 equal sized logs, about 3 inches wide by 8 inches long. It may be easiest to form the log directly on the parchment paper. Bake the logs for 25 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Use a sharp knife to cut the logs into biscotti sticks, about 10 per log.
For the glaze: Combine all the ingredients and mix well until a glaze is formed. If the glaze is too watery, add a teaspoon more of confectioner's sugar. If the glaze is too dry, add a drop of water. Once the biscotti are completely cooled, drizzle the glaze over them. Let the glaze harden by air drying for one hour.
You all asked for this one…My family's favorite dinner..And, you can make it in under 20 minutes! Enough said.
Garlic Salmon with Edamame
Makes 4 servings
One- 2 pound filet of salmon, skin removed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup tamari sauce
Juice from half of an orange
3 tablespoons raw honey
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 1/2 cups shelled edamame, thawed
Kosher Salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven 450. Place the salmon in a lightly greased baking, season lightly with salt and pepper. Bake, covered for 15 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Meanwhile, place the remaining ingredients in a glass jar, and shake well to combine. Remove the fish from oven and cool for 15 minutes. Rinse the thawed edamame under some warm running water. Once, the fish has cooled down, pour the sauce over the fish. Sprinkle the edamame over (No, the edamame do not need to be cooked- they have actually already been cooked before packaged and only need to be defrosted!). Enjoy!
The idea for this recipe came to me after reading a recipe for a caramel-date pudding cake. I wanted to make something sweet and indulgent to serve at my Yom Kippur Break-Fast, but instead of a cake-y texture, I wanted more of a fresh toast texture. The dates are cut into tiny pieces and end up melting into the bread-pudding, adding sweet stickiness (no one will ever know the dates are in there!). Imagine golden, toasty challah, in a warm, creamy custard, that's drizzled with homemade caramel. Oh by the way, it's pretty easy to make too. Perfect for dessert, for brunch or whenever you feel like a real treat.
Sticky Date & Caramel Bread Pudding
1 cup pitted dates, (I found pitted dates at Costco)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 large challah, cut into small cubes or slices
6 eggs 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup cream or half and half
pinch of kosher salt
For the caramel
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
Preheat the oven 350. Chop the date sin to tiny pieces. Bring the water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Add the dates, baking soda and vanilla. Cook on medium-heat for 10 minutes until all is softened and combined. Set aside. Place the sliced challah into a rectangular pyrex dish, you can place the slices in layers or just throw them all in. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, butter, cream and salt until foamy. Pour the date mixture into the eggs and stir to combine. Pour evenly over the challah. Use your hands to push the challah down into the liquid, to ensure all of the challah pieces are immersed. Set aside while you prepare your caramel. In a small stockpot, combine the cream, butter and brown sugar. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until a caramel is formed. It should stake about 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn the caramel or yourself! Drizzle the caramel over the challah. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. May be made ahead an frozen. Thaw and reheat before serving.
I'm not a honey cake type of a girl. Never have been, never will be. For me, everytime I try honey cake, the only thing I taste is: dry or burnt. Is it just me? Still, this time of year, I tryy to keep with tradition and serve a honey-inspired dessert. Then I came up with these. Based on a classic Italian cookie (traditionally made with honey and almonds), I combined ground hazlenuts, whole hazelnuts and golden honey to created the most addictive, perfectly sweet, and delicious biscotti- only its not a biscotti, because it is baked just once. What do I love about these beauties? They are easy to make, freeze well, and make the most lovely rosh hashana gifts- you know I am all about gifting food.
Hazelnut & Honey Joy Cookies
Makes 2-3 dozen
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup ground hazelnuts
1/2 cup whole hazelnuts, roasted and skinned
2 1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup water
Seeds from half a vanilla bean pod OR 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cinnamon, for sprinkling on top
Preheat oven 350. Use an electric mixer to combine the sugar, both hazelnuts, flour, baking powder, baking soda, honey and water. Stir in the vanilla. Use your hands to form into 2 seperate mounds. Roll one mound out onto a table, so it resembles a snake, about 12-inches long and 2-inches wide. Repeat with the second mound. Place both "snakes' on a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 3-inches apart from one another. use your fingertips to press down on the dough to flatten it so it is more rectangular in shape than round. Pinch a trail of cinnamon all along the center of the dough as pictured below. Bake in oven, about 20 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Use a sharp knife to slice the logs horizontally into biscotti. No need to bake a second time. They are ready to enjoy!
There's no doubt that if you're hosting Rosh Hashana this year, you've already started to planning your menu. It doesnt hurt to work woth recipes that can be made ahead of time or even frozen. This recipe for slow-cooked beef ribs in red wine and fig sauce works perfectly for the holidays. One of those, "throw-it-all-in-one-pan-and- go" recipes we all crave. It's a seasonal and sophisticated approach to an all time, finger-licking favorite. Even if figs arent usually your thing, I highly recommend trying this recipe, as the figs really melt into the sauce, creating a robust, flavorsome gravy. You may prepare this recipe ahead of time, and cool completely before freezing. Or make it on the day of, and enjoy as the rich, sweet aroma fills your home just before your guests arrive.
STICKY BEEF RIBS WITH DRIED FIG WINE SAUCE
Serves 4 to 6 (recipe may be doubled)
5 pounds beef spare ribs
1⁄2 cup honey
1⁄2 cup ketchup or tomato paste
1⁄2 cup soy sauce
1⁄4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup dry red wine
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
1 cup dried Turkish figs, stemmed and halved
Place the ribs in a large roasting pan. Combine the honey, ketchup, soy sauce, olive oil, wine, garlic, rosemary and figs in a small bowl and pour over the ribs. Cover tightly with foil and marinate in the refrigerator overnight and up to 3 days.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake the ribs, covered, for 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake for 2- 2.5 hours more, until the ribs are sticky on the outside and soft on the inside. The figs will likely melt into the rib sauce. The ribs can be made in advance and frozen in the marinade for up to 1 month, or refrigerated overnight and reheated in a 300°F oven the next day.
I've got to say- all the technology that has been invented and evolved in the last 10 years makes me really uncomfortable. I know that I have to be part of this technological age, but I totally don't fit in. There are a few reasons for this, number one being that I suck at it. I call my 12 year old niece and nephews everyday for technological help. And, let's just say my IT guy and web designer are losing money having me as a client. I am that incapable. People have asked why I don't post on my blog more often- I mean, it takes me 2 days to upload the photos, so I guess I'm doing something wrong. The truth is, all this social media and blogging has been imperative to the growth of my business- I have been connected with people I otherwise would never have the chance to connect with if not for today's technology. So, what does any of this have to do with food or cooking, right? Well, about a month ago, I received an email from one of my instagram followers, she calls herself @Cookinginheels. Over the last year, she has been posting really kind comments about my cookbook, The Modern Menu. @Cookinginheels was writing to ask me for some advice about the world of cookbooks. We had a nice email exchange, emailing back and forth like old friends. I really wanted to help her if I could. I told her everything I learned writing my cookbook, and warned her about all the mistakes I made a long the way. I tried to tell her everything I wish someone had told me! And, when it was all said and done, I thought to myself: "I should invite her over- we should get together and eat."
From that light bulb moment on, I started thinking about all the kosher foodies I had exchanged with over the years- emails, texts, tweets, instagram comments, facebook messages… So many of these talented food bloggers have written about my cookbook, given shout-outs to my recipes, 'liked' my pictures. I thought it was so crazy that we don't really know each other, for G-d's sake, I didn't even know any of their real names!! Yet, even without knowing each other personally, only in this virtual world, we had supported one another, we had cheered each other along. We had helped each other.
So, I had this simple idea, to invite them all over for a #kosherfoodiepotluck and celebrate our successes. I emailed them each personally and asked them if they wanted me to invite anyone else that they thought may like to join…I hoped one or two would bite. The response was amazing.
Each and every woman was so excited to be part and everyone knew someone who should be invited. (At a certain point I had to draw the line with invites, as the space wouldn't allow for it!) There started to be some buzz around the #kosherfoodiepotluck. I received calls from various media outlets asking to write about the event, and several food companies asked to sponsor the event. We decided to hold a contest on Instagram that would offer 3 seats at our table to our fans. Hundreds of fans competed in the contest- there were Instagram quarrels over who should win!! Everywhere I went, it seemed people were asking about the potluck. I received phone calls and emails from fans begging to pay for a seat at our table ( I of course, turned them down). I just couldn't believe how excited people were getting over this idea. Everyone kept asking: "What are you making?!"
Last Thursday night, we all met on a rooftop in midtown Manhattan (my husband's office has a gorgeous outdoor space that has never been used)- the night was spectacular, the weather was perfection. One by one the women trickled in, each carrying the most gorgeous dishes I had ever seen. The common thread was the simplicity of each dish (except for the cronuts made by @chefchaya- those were from another galaxy!) We had jewel-like fresh figs stuffed with ricotta and topped with fresh mint, fish tacos made with pickled onions & key limes, stuffed eggplant, malawach cheese pastries, outrageous chili, summer vegetable gratin, spelt bread, goat cheese & spinach tart, Asian quinoa lettuce wraps, exotic fruit pavlova, homemade caramels, chocolate chewy-gooey cookies, and specialty ice pops...just to name a few!! All of the ladies went home with goodie packages, or as they like to call it, swag.
The wine was flowing, as was the food. We sat around a long table talking and laughing the night away. We shared our ambitions, experiences and advice. Everyone was salivating over the next person's dish. 13 women gathered around a table- many of us were from different places, different worlds, and have different ways of observing Judaism. I could not help but think how empowering it was that 13 women, all in the same industry could come together to celebrate one another. And what I knew all along became even more apparent to me- that supporting each other is far more rewarding than competing with one another. It was an unforgettable evening. Thank you, ladies.
What makes this recips super easy is that you can use a store bought cheesecake! Just place the cake into a really large bowl. Gently stir the cheesecake, crust and all, in a stand mixer fitter with the paddle attachment, or by hand with a spatula, until the crust has mixed with the filling. Use a small ice cream scoop or melon baler to scoop 1-inch balls of cheesecake an roll them in your hands to shape more precisely. Insert a lollipop stick into the cheesecake and place on a parchment lined baking tray (if the cheesecake mixture seems too soft, you can freeze the scooped balls for 30 minutes before shaping and inserting the sticks). Freeze the pops for an hour, while preparing the chocolate and accents.
Dip the pops in your choice of chocolates and then dip or sprinkle the accents on at your choosing. Regrigerate or freeze until ready tto serve! You can serve them cold or frozen!
Cheesecakes in a Jar!
Similar concept to my Decomposed Smores recipe- Use your favorite no-bake cheesecake recipe. I like the one on the back of the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Packages. Use small jars or shot glasses worl really well too. Sprinkle some of the crumbs into the jar/glass, top with the cheese filling, and top with the topping of your choice.
Perhaps you'd like ot give these awesome Cheesecake Oreo Cookies a shot? I love the concept of these little ones that I found on browneyedbaker.com!
Yes, it's true. When I think about cheesecake, I think about Israel. I think back to many, many summers, sitting in my aunt's house in Be'er Sheva, drinking instant coffee with lots of milk, and eating her cheesecake out of the cake pan, with a spoon, laughing and crying. I recently read a book where the author says something along the lines of: "It's not about the cooking, it's about the eating- that's when the memories are formed." I have to agree. Israeli cheesecake is un-baked, so you don't have to worry about the complexities of over-cooking or under-cooking, or cooking it in a bath of water, as many cheesecake recipes require. I love the simplicity of it, the springiness- the fact that it's light enough to eat for breakfast. As long as you allow the cake enough time to really chill in the refrigeator (at least 4 hours), this recipe will be a success. The recipe calls for gvina levana, an Israeli creamed cheese. This can be found in Israeli markets, or if you don't have access, simply replace with regular cream cheese. We all know that cheesecakes come in different styles- you can choose your favorite: New York, Chicago, Pennsylvania, or Italian, but I will stick to the Israeli one.
And, one more thing. If you've never made a cheesecake before, this is the recipe I highly reccomend you try for the first time. It's that easy and that good.
Israeli Crumb Cheesecake
recipe from Carine Goren's "Sweet Secrets"
One 9-inch cake
Crust & Crumbs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cups (1 and 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cold & cubed
2 egg yolks
you will need one 9 inch springform pan, and one 9 inch cake pan (any type works, as long as you have 1 springform pan, you are good to go)
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1- 3.5 ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix, if you can find an Israeli brand, go for it
3- 8 ounce packages gvina levana or cream cheese
Prepare crust and crumbs. Preheat oven 350. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process the flour, baking powder, sugar, vanilla and butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the yolks and process until a dough is formed. Divide the dough in 2. Line the cake pans with parchment paper- you can buy pre-cut parchment rounds at most baking stores or online. Press one half of the dough into a cake pan, spreading the dough so that it reaches the entire base of the pan. This will be your cake's crust. It might help to wet your hands a little bit with cold water, to make spreading the dough easier. Press the remaining dough into the second cake pan, this one does not need to be as perfect, this will be used to make crumbs for the topping. Bake both pans for about 20 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool. The crust and crumbs can be made up to 2 days a head of time, cooled, wrapped in plastic wrap and stored until ready to use.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the cream, sugar, and instant powder to firm peaks. With the mixer on low speed, add the cream cheese, one package at a time, until all is well combined. Pour the filling over the crust, and smooth the surface so it is nice and even. Crumble up the additional baked crust (the not so pretty one) with your fingertips, and sprinkle the crumbs over the top of the cake. Refrigerate at least 4 hours until the filling sets. I like to make it a day or two in advance, and lightly cover with plastic wrap in the fridge until ready to serve. Serve cold.
Preparing the crust & the crumbs
Crust & Crumbs dough
Lining the cake pans with parchment paper
Press the dough into each pan
2 pans- one evenly pressed dough used for the cake crust, and one uneven, not-so-pretty dough used for the crumbs
The baked cake crust
Add the cream cheese and whip
Mixture should be thick and creamy, but not loose
Dollop the cheese mixture over the cake crust
Spread evenly and smooth over the top
Sprinkle the crumbs over the top of the cake and refrigerate immediately OR if you prefer the crumbs crunchy, sprinkle them over the cake just before serving