Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lemon Passover Cheesecake

We always end our Passover Seder with a sponge cake.  My dad’s mom, Grandma Gertie used to make it.  When the tradition was passed down, I felt somewhat honored to be making Grandma’s cake, until one day I realized Grandma’s recipe was pretty identical to the one found on the Manischevitz cake meal box.  I felt like Monica after she tried to perfect Phoebe’s special chocolate cookie recipe.  If you don’t know what I mean, you should be ashamed and then watch this.

Anyway, ever since the realization that Grandma’s cake was more of a generic Passover sponge cake recipe than a secret family recipe, I have realized how average that cake is (sorry Brinks).  We still make the cake for Grandma’s sake, she’s 92 after all, but this year I was finally home in time to make something more exciting for night two.

I found a recipe for Passover Cheesecake on Epicurious that had great reviews (4 forks!).  The crust is made from almonds and matzo meal and cheesecake is already Passover ready.  My first attempt at cheesecake was mighty good. 

Happy Passover.  And, Happy Updating!


For crust
  • 3/4 cup sliced blanched almonds, toasted and cooled
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup matzo cake meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
For Cheesecake
  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Make crust:
Preheat oven to 350F with rack in middle.

Pulse almonds, sugar, matzo cake meal, and salt in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and stir in butter until combined well. Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of springform pan. Bake until crust is firm and a shade darker, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool crust completely in pan on a rack.

Make filling and bake cheesecake:
Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

Beat together cream cheese and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add eggs 1 at a time, mixing until incorporated. Mix in zest and vanilla.
Put springform pan in a shallow baking pan and pour filling into cooled crust. Bake until filling is set 1 1/2 inches from edge but center is wobbly, 45 to 50 minutes (filling will continue to set as it cools). Transfer cake in pan to a rack and immediately run a knife around edge, then remove side of pan. Cool completely, 2 to 3 hours.

We thought the cheesecake needed a little extra something so we served it with raspberries… serve plain or garnish as you see fit. 

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