Israel – Shavout cheesecake

Dairy products are central to Israeli cooking and dishes are nearly always ‘cheesy’ or ‘milky’ or use plenty of plain yoghurt.

Marina and her family desperately miss ready access to soft cheeses, yoghurt and eggs. This Russian-Israeli family speak Russian at home and Marina regrets that her nine-year-old son has forgotten nearly all of his Hebrew. They applied to be transferred to Dublin, to be near a synagogue and a Hebrew school, but were turned down.

During Shavout, one of the three principal Jewish festivals, no meat is eaten for 24 hours. The Torah (similar to the Old Testament) is often studied during an all night vigil. Delicious ice creams and cheesecakes, such as this one, are made. Shavout is celebrated in early summer so houses are festooned with fruit, flowers and greenery.


Base (use a 9×13 inch pan)

  • 1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ cup oil
  • ¼ cup of shredded coconut (optional)


  • 500g cream cheese
  • 350g cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups of sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2½ tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 ¼ cups sour cream
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 180 degrees C.  Mix oil, flour and sugar together in a bowl. Add coconut (if desired) Press mixture into bottom of pan. Bake for 5-10 minutes, until lightly browned.

Beat cream cheese and cottage cheese together until smooth. Add eggs and beat until blended. Add sugar, salt and cornstarch and mix. Add sour cream, milk and vanilla. Blend well. Pour the filling slowly into the base. Bake for one hour, turn oven off and allow cheesecake to cool in the oven for an hour.

Decorate with fresh fruit, berries or sliced nuts and serve chilled.