Shavuot is wonderful holiday that serves as an important reminder of the giving of the Torah. The practice of eating dairy is said to symbolise the land promised to the Israelites, which was said to be “flowing with milk and honey”. To help you prepare for this holiday, we’ve found a few dairy-based delights and a tasty twist on a favourite old recipe.
No Shavuot celebration would be complete without a deliciously rich cheesecake at its heart. For those of you feeling more adventurous, try topping the cheesecake with salted caramel or mixed berries.
For the crust:
125g Tomor Vegetable Margarine (or Butter)
100g digestive biscuits
2 tbsp sugar
For the filling:
900g cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp flour
1 tin of condensed milk
1 lemon rind
Preheat the oven to 170oC. Crush the digestive biscuits by placing them in a plastic food bag and smooth over with a rolling pin. Mix the biscuits with the sugar and margarine or butter until the mixture is moist. Grease a baking tin and spread the mixture evenly on the bottom.
Whisk the cream cheese in a bowl until it has turned fluffy in consistency. Gradually add the condensed milk and continue to mix. Once the mixture is smoother, add all the remaining ingredients except the eggs. Stir the mixture thoroughly and then add the eggs one at a time to the bowl and mix well.
Pour the mixture over the base in the tin and place in the oven to bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Check the cheesecake around halfway through the bake to ensure it hasn’t split. If the cheesecake has begun to split, turn off the oven and leave the door ajar for the remainder of the baking time. Once the cheesecake has finished baking, it should have a tanned look around the edges.
After removing it from the oven, allow the cheesecake to cool for at least 15 minutes. Once it has cooled, cover the cheesecake with cling film and place in the fridge for 4 hours or until it is ready to serve.
The traditional blintz is another Shavuot favourite that will have everyone queuing up for seconds. Fantastically versatile, this dish works perfectly as a lighter dessert or as an indulgent brunch.
For the pancakes:
1 tsp sugar
4 tbsp vegetable oil
Pinch of salt
For the filling:
450g cottage cheese or ricotta
1 tsp sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp lemon juice or vanilla extract
Place the cheese in a strainer and allow the liquid to drain, preferably overnight.
Mix all of the pancake ingredients together in a blender until the mixture is smooth. Place the mixture in the fridge for an hour to set.
Heat a pan on medium heat until hot. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pan and once it has spread, add the mixture. Cook the pancake for just over a minute or until the edges have browned. Based on preference, either flip the pancake over and cook for a further minute or remove from the pan. Repeat until all the mixture has been used.
Add all the filling ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Spoon around 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture into the centre of the pancake, and follow these steps to fold correctly:
1. Fold the bottom of the pancake up over the mixture.
2. Fold the sides a third of the way over each so that it looks like an envelope.
3. Fold the top down over the other folds.
4. Flip the blintz over.
Repeat this process until all the mixture or pancakes have been used. Add two tablespoons of the vegetable oil to a pan on medium heat and then add the blintzes. Cook for about 1 minute on each side until browned.
For added flavour, try topping your blintzes with sour cream, fresh fruit or powdered sugar.
Spinach Matzo Balls
A lovely change-up on the traditional matzah ball, this superb dish can be used in a hearty soup or as a side to one of your main courses.
125g Rakusen’s Fine Matzo Meal
100g spinach leaves
2 eggs and 1 egg white
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
Mix the spinach leaves in a food processor until it has puréed. Drain the water from the spinach in a colander. Add the eggs and vegetable oil and mix further in the food processor.
Place the mixture in a bowl and stir in the matzo meal. Season the mixture to your taste with salt and pepper. Chill the mixture in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Shape the mixture into 8 small balls with floured hands. Boil a pan of salted water and add the balls and cook for 5 minutes before reducing to simmer for a further 40 minutes. Allow at least 5 minutes to cool before serving.
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