In my last post I discussed my tour through six different cheesecake recipes and the merits of each. After tasting them all, and taking input from some lucky friends, I have honed in on my ideal cheesecake recipe, combining the best qualities of all the recipes I tried. It is a hybrid between the dense, New York cheesecake, and the fluffy, Israeli cheesecake. It contains lemon zest. It has a butterscotch topping and a cookie crumb (or graham cracker) crust. It was baked in a water bath for perfect texture and beauty. Below are the recipes in both Israeli and American versions, I hope you enjoy!
Shavuot, the holiday of cheesecake…err, I mean, the holiday in which the Israelites receive the Torah, is here! No, but really, it’s all about the cheesecake.
Which makes this a great time to talk about Israeli and American cheesecakes. No, they are not the same. American cheesecake, typically a “New York Style” cheesecake, is based on American cream cheese, which is quite thick, similar to a 30% fat shemenet. New York Style cheesecake also calls for some flour, and is baked in a water bath to achieve the thick, custard-like texture. A New York Style cheesecake is dense and creamy, and a thin sliver is all you need ; )
Israeli cheesecake, on the other hand, tends to be lighter, more airy. This is primarily due to the difference cheeses used. Instead of American style cream cheese, the classic being Philadelphia cream cheese (which is not easy to find in Israel), a combination of lower fat white cheese (gevinah lavanah and shemenet) and sometimes sweetened heavy cream (shemenet metukah) are used.