A while ago I started to think about Shavuot*. Food-wise, it’s probably my favourite of the Jewish festivals, not least because it’s all about DAIRY, and because the Jewish dietary laws prohibit mixing milk and meat, menus tend towards the vegetarian/fish options – hurrah!**
I made my no-bake raspberry cheesecake mousse a little while ago, and was looking for other creamy, cheesy Shavuot-friendly ideas, when I stumbled across something on Pinterest. It was a biscuit with a ‘cheesecake’ filling, completely enclosed by the cookie exterior. However, when I read the recipe it became clear that it was the sort of (American) recipe I hate, which uses 3 different sorts of pre-prepared cake/pudding/other mix and combines them into some monstrous chemical-packed horror. Eurgh. So, I took the idea, and figured out how to make something similar using actual food.
I had to make (and sample!) three batches of these before I perfected the recipe. Oh, the sacrifices I make! The first batch had far too much cinnamon in the crust. The second batch was better, but the filling just wasn’t ‘cheesecakey’ enough. Batch three was perfect – crumbly-soft lightly spiced crust, tangy creamy cheesecake filling, mmmm. My volunteer tasters (sorry, I couldn’t eat 36 cookies singlehanded, tempting as it was) aka DH’s colleagues, agreed that I’d nailed it.
And just in time for Shavuot, too 🙂
These aren’t nearly as fiddly to make as you might think. And they’re totally worth it. Recipe makes 12 inside-out cheesecake cookies.
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- 40g cream cheese
- 5g butter
- 5g sugar
- 20g soured cream
- 1 drop vanilla essence
- Zest of half a lemon + 2 tsp juice
- 100g self-raising flour
- 1/8tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Good pinch cinnamon
- 35g golden caster sugar
- 50g margarine
- 2tbsp (25g) agave syrup (or golden syrup or honey)
- Combine all the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Put into a shallow container and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
- Mix the dry ingredients (flour, bicarb, cinnamon and sugar) then add the margarine and mix thoroughly to give lumpy crumbs.
- Warm the syrup then add to the crumbs and mix well to produce a dough.
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.
- Flatten a ball of dough between your palms. Scoop 1/12 of the frozen filling mixture (approx. 1 tsp) onto the flattened dough. Bring up the sides of the dough around the filling and pinch together. Roll into a ball, ensuring that the filling is completely enclosed. Place on the lined baking sheet.
- Repeat with the remaining dough until you have made 12 balls.
- Bake at 180C for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.
- Allow to cool for a minute or two on the baking tray - the cookies will be very soft to begin with. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool down completely before serving.
* Note for gentile readers – Shavuot is the Spring harvest festival, and celebrates G-d giving the Ten Commandments (and the rest of the Torah) to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. It comes 7 weeks after Pesach (Passover).
**Many years ago I was invited to a friend of a friend’s for Shavuot dinner. Our host was a kosher butcher. To get into the spirit of the festival, we started the meal with cheesecake. Then the table was cleared, we had to rinse our mouths with water, and a meat dinner was served… 🙁
Photos updated May 2016.