Shavuot Holiday (Pentecost)

May 16, 2018

Shavuot Blog

This week we are celebrating Shavuot Holiday.

Shavuot is known as the Feast of Weeks in English or Pentecost in Ancient Greek.

The holiday is one of the three Biblical pilgrimage festivals. It marks the conclusion of the Counting of the Omer, and its date is directly linked to that of Passover. The Torah mandates the seven-week Counting of the Omer, beginning on the second day of Passover, to be immediately followed by Shavuot. This counting of days and weeks is understood to express anticipation and desire for the giving of the Torah. On Passover, the people of Israel were freed from their enslavement to Pharaoh; on Shavuot they were given the Torah and became a nation committed to serving God. The word Shavuot means weeks, and the festival of Shavuot marks the completion of the seven-week counting period between Passover and Shavuot.

Shavuot is celebrated in eating lots of dairy food and cakes! But why? There are many theories and the most common are –

  1. With the giving of the Torah, the Jews became obligated to observe the kosher laws. As the Torah was given on Shabbat, no cattle could be slaughtered nor could utensils be koshered, and thus on that day they ate dairy.
  2. The land of Israel is referred to as “a land flowing with milk and honey”. Just as milk has the ability to fully sustain the body of a human being (i.e. a nursing baby), so too the Torah provides all the “spiritual nourishment” necessary for the human soul.
  3. The numerical value of the Hebrew word for milk, chalav, is 40. We eat dairy foods on Shavuot to commemorate the 40 days that Moses spent on Mount Sinai receiving instruction in the entire Torah.

Dairy food lovers rejoice during Shavuot!

We would like to share 2 recipes of one of Israel’s most beloved and best-known pastry chefs, Carine Goren.

Her cookbooks are bestsellers, and her hit television show “Sweet Secrets” has won her many fans.

Israeli Cheesecake

This cheesecake is un-baked, so you don’t have to worry about the complexities of over-cooking or under-cooking, or cooking it in a bath of water, as many cheesecake recipes require.

One 9-inch cake

Materials

Bottom dough and crumbs:

1 ½ cups (210 grams) flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup (65 g) sugar

150 grams of cold butter, cut into cubes

3 egg yolks

For the cheese filling:

2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream

3/4 cup (150 g) sugar

40 grams (1/2 package) instant vanilla pudding mix

500 grams of 5% white cheese or 9% fat

 

250 g cream cheese 30% fat

 

Preparation

Prepare the bottom and crumbs:

Preheat the oven to 350 (180 celsius). In a food processor with a metal blade, flour, sugar and butter are processed into a crumbly mixture. Add the egg yolks and process until you get the crumbs of moist dough.

Staple about 2/3 of the crumbs in the hands to the bottom of the round pan, lined with baking paper.

Cover the dough with a thickness of 1/2 cm on a baking pan lined with baking paper, and bake the dough in both molds for about 20 minutes, then cool completely, then crumble the 1/3 of the baked dough into the crumbs and store in a sealed container until use.

Prepare the cheese stuffing:

In a mixer, whip together sweet cream with sugar and pudding until you get a firm whipped cream. Fold in the cheese.

Assemble and cool:

Place a sheet of baking paper on the inner volume of the pan. Pour the cheese mixture over the baked and smooth bottom. Sprinkle the crumbs over and place them in a sealed container in the refrigerator for overnight, stabilizing. Before serving, refrigerate for half an hour for the cake to be very cold. Slice with a knife dipped in boiling water and serve.

 

Baked cheesecake with sour cream

Materials

 

For the cheese filling:

750 grams of 5% white cheese or 9% fat

250 g cream cheese 30% fat

6 eggs, separated

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup full of sugar (220 g)

6 tablespoons cornstarch (60 g)

5 tablespoons flour (or another 5 tablespoons cornstarch, in addition) (50 g)

2/3 cup milk (180 ml)

50 g melted butter

For sour cream coating:

2 cups sour cream (400 ml)

4 tablespoons powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Preparation

 

Prepare the cheese stuffing:

Preheat the oven to 450 (350 celsius)

Place a deep mold in the bottom of the oven and fill it with boiling water to create an environment rich in steam.

Fold a sheet of newspaper into a strip at the height of the pan and place in a bowl of cold water.

In a large bowl, devour two types of cheese with egg yolks, vanilla extract and 2/3 cup sugar, sift over cornstarch and flour and stalk well into a smooth mixture without lumps. Add melted butter and add to the mixture.

Mix egg whites until you get a white foam. Add the remaining sugar (1/2 cup) gradually and beat to get shiny and stable but not stiff. Pour one-third of the foam into the cheese mixture and gently fold the rest of the foam until you get a uniform, airy mixture.

Pour the mixture into a greased pan. Cover the outside with the newspaper strips soaked in water.

Bake in two stages:

Bake for 10-15 minutes until the cake turns into a dry, golden crust.

Lower the oven temperature to 320 degrees (160 celsius). Remove the cake from the oven while it cools and transfer a knife to the scale of the pan: Place the knife in a depth of 2 cm and release the edges of the cake to allow it to rise freely without sticking to the edges.

Return to the oven and bake for about an hour until the cake is brown, swollen, springy to the touch and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out dry (during the cooling it will return to its original height, which is fine).

Remove from the oven and immediately cover with the coating.

 

Prepare the coating, coat and cool:

Mix all the coating materials and spread over the hot cake (if you want to coat it after it has already cooled, heat the oven to 350 degrees (180 celsius), and put it in the hot oven for a minute.

After coating, cool completely (during the cooling process the cake will drop at an altitude, and the liquid coating will stabilize) and store in the refrigerator.

 

Have a Happy and sweet Holiday!