Cheesecake, Israeli-Style?

I posted this recipe at this time last year and have gotten so many requests to post it again. So, here it is. Tried and True!

 

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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)

Filling:
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. 
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Preparing the crust & the crumbs

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Crust & Crumbs dough

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Lining the cake pans with parchment paper

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Press the dough into each pan

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 2 pans- one evenly pressed dough used for the cake crust, and one uneven, not-so-pretty dough used for the crumbs

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The baked cake crust

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The uneven baked pan- crumbled into crums to use for the topping
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Whipping the cream and pudding and sugar

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Add the cream cheese and whip

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Mixture should be thick and creamy, but not loose

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Dollop the cheese mixture over the cake crust

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Spread evenly and smooth over the top

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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

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 Sorry I don't have a final picture of the cake yet….it's in the fridge overnight!