Saturday, June 8, 2013

A happy birthday and a recipe for a most decadent cheese cake

The best cheesecake we know

A couple of weeks ago I turned 39. I must confess I wasn't too thrilled about it. Though I never hide my age the passage of time is starting to be cruel. I cannot ignore anymore the signs time is marking on my face and skin. This year I allowed myself a bit of dark, moody brooding before the big day. It didn't last long tough, because we all took a day off and went to celebrate my birthday weekend in the north part of Israel with all my family, parents and brothers included. It was a perfect day. Unpredictable great weather with beautiful deep blue sky dotted with white clouds (we call it The Simpsons sky), empty roads with no traffic jams and an almost completely empty national park. We hiked the short but challenging Arbel cliff that hangs over The Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), combining adventurous rock climbing on ladders with history and archaeology. The Arbel is a fort built into the rock like something out of Game of Thrones, which makes it a great place for pretend knight dual or hide and seek. 

The Arbel

Hiking the Arbel mount

thorns of summer

We ended the day in a lovely family gathering at the hotel lobby where we all stayed. We had a cake of course, with only one candle; I think the heat from 40 candles would've caused a fire.  

All together now

Since we've recently celebrated the Jewish holiday of Shavuot every Israeli and Jewish food blog had recipes for cheesecake. Although I was reluctant at first my friend and food blogger Foodbridge convinced me to publish my version for cheesecake.  It is my daughter's favorite because it combines perfectly sweet, savory and sour flavors.

Cheesecake recipe modified from Doram Gaunt's cookbook "A tall man cooks".

A 22cm tin lined with baking paper.

Cake base:
150gr savory gluten-free pretzels (Osem has a special edition for Passover from potato flour) or any savory crunchy gluten-free crackers.
125ml (half a cup) Nutella spread.
75gr butter

The filling:
4 eggs
250ml (1 cup) sugar
500gr 5% white cheese – Quark cheese (gvina levana)
200gr soft ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 table poon corn starch
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Ganache topping (Not necessary)
100gr dark chocolate at least 60% cocoa solids
100ml whole cream

1.       Making the cake base:  In a food processor grind all the ingredients to crumbs. With moist hands take the base and flatten it on the bottom of the cake tin and chill for one hour in the refrigerator.
2.       Heat the oven to 150 centigrade
3.       Prepare the filling: bit together the eggs and sugar (at least 5 minutes in an electric mixer), add the cheeses, and lemon zest and mix. Dissolve the corn starch in the lemon juice and add to the mixture.
4.       Assembling the cakes: pour the mixture on the base and bake for 50 minutes until the cake is stable. Cool the cake for at least 5 hours in the fridge before serving.
5.       If you want to top the cake with ganache, boil the cream, take it off the heat and immediately add the chocolate, mix and cool. Spread carefully on the cake and let it cool for another hour.

Have a bite


  1. Nothing like comfort food to get through anything and this cake is perfect for Shavuout. So glad you shared the photos (always makes me wish I was back there) and recipe. A belated Mazal Tov Yael, and hope you had a 'hag shavuout samech' it certainly sounds like it was a delicious one!