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August 31, 2014 / 5 Elul, 5774
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Shavuos And Cheesecake

With just two weeks left to Shavuos, our minds begin to turn to cheesecake. While for some that might mean they need a vacation, for most of us it means how much cream cheese to buy
and whether or not to make a sour cream frosting.

The reasons we eat dairy of Shavuos are many. Some say it is because Torah is compared to milk – just as a newborn child cannot survive without milk, we cannot survive without Torah. On the night of Matan Torah, we ate dairy because the laws of kashrut and shechita had just been given and there was no time to kosher the meat. Whatever the original reason was, eating dairy on Shavuos is part of our mesorah.

Cheesecake – just the sound of the word makes the mouth water – a thick layer of cheese – plain or marble, covered with chocolate, sour cream, fruits or caramel. The varieties are as
endless as your imagination. But where did it begin?

Cheesecake is believed to have originated in ancient Greece. History has the first recorded mention of cheesecake as being served to the athletes during the first Olympic Games held in 776 B.C.E. Centuries later, cheesecake appeared in America, with recipes brought over by immigrants. In 1872, American dairymen, who were trying to recreate the French cheese, Neufch?tel, invented cream cheese.

One of my favorites Yom Tov treats is caramel cheesecake. For many years, those stringent with cholov Yisrael had to make their own caramel or dulce de leche. However, this year, there is great news for caramel lovers.

Dulche de Leche produced by California Delight and distributed by D&S is now available. This incredible caramel sauce is cholov Yisrael under the Star – K and the Vaad Hakashrus of
Mechon L’Hoyroa. It is made in Argentina with all natural ingredients, including 100% cows’ milk. It is available in regular and 97% fat free. We tried the 97% fat free in the glass jar and were amazed at how delicious it was - and you absolutely could not tell that it was “diet” food. The regular version comes in a plastic container with a flip-up top for easy pouring. It is great for cheesecake, blintzes or just to flavor vanilla ice cream. This Yom Tov must can be found in your local kosher grocery or supermarket.

For those who are not bakers, or who just don’t want to patchka in the kitchen, Weiss’s Bakery offers nine delicious varieties of gourmet cheesecakes in both 10-inch and 7-inch sizes.
Last week, our offices had the opportunity to sample the marble and the halva cheesecake. I am not sure if there are enough words in the English language to describe them. The halva is without compare, and I say this as a person who has tasted many great cheesecakes. The cheese layer is very rich and sweet. The top layer is a chocolate ganache. (Ganache is a French term referring to a smooth mixture of chopped chocolate and heavy cream.) And
sprinkled on top of the chocolate are halva crumbs.

Weiss’s also has a full line of cheese delicacies for Shavuos including kreplach, babkas, cigars and their famous butter loaf. Weiss’s is in Brooklyn on 13th Ave in Boro Park and on Avenue M in Flatbush. They also have a store on Castor Avenue in Philadelphia. You can also find them on the web at weissbakery.com. Have a wonderful Yom Tov!

About the Author: Magazine Editor, The Jewish Press


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