Covet Thy Cheesecake | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Covet Thy Cheesecake

Celebrate Shavuot with mini snickerdoodle cheesecakes topped with peach bourbon compote.

12 cakes

30 min

45 min

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Shavuot is upon us, and this holiday always reminds me of two things: dairy, and turning thirteen. One reason we eat dairy on Shavuot is in recognition of the Israelites receiving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. They instantly had to adopt the laws of kashrut, but without the necessary instruments to slaughter and prepare kosher meat, they opted for dairy – though they probably didn’t have the holy experience of tasting snickerdoodle cheesecakes.

I became a Bat Mitzvah during Shavuot seventeen a few years ago, and my portion was actually the 10 Commandments, which even as a teenager I thought was pretty cool. My little brother Andrew, only ten at the time, helped me prepare by reminding me of the popular 1990’s aerobic videos “Buns of Steel” whenever I got to the “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s ass” part of the Torah portion. “No matter how shapely it is or how many Buns of Steel videos they do, don’t covet thy neighbor’s ass,” he would exclaim before bursting into a fit of giggles. Oy.

When the big day was finally here, I proudly put on my new baby blue suit and coordinating nail polish (ah the 90’s) and confidently approached the bema. I made the unfortunate mistake of looking over at Andrew as I got to the dreaded “ass” line. As he started to laugh, I did too. Those who know me are aware that once I get the giggles, I can’t stop. After what seemed like a solid fifteen minutes of laughter, I managed to control myself and continued on with the service. They say the day you become a Bat Mitzvah is the day you become a woman, and as long as I can be a woman who finds “coveting thy neighbor’s ass” humorous, then it sure is true.

One thing you can covet? These mini snickerdoodle cheesecakes with peach bourbon compote. Perfectly portioned for individual servings, these cakes are seasoned with cinnamon and then topped with a sweet peach and bourbon topping. The creamy yet light cheesecakes pair perfectly with the juicy fruit and the subtle kick from the liquor.

Amy Kritzer is a food writer and recipe developer in Austin, TX who enjoys cooking, theme parties and cowboys. She challenges herself to put a spin on her Bubbe’s traditional Jewish recipes and blogs about her endeavors at What Jew Wanna Eat. You can follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook and watch her cooking videos on Google+.

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For crust:

5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

7 sheets graham crackers, pulverized (about 1 cup)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

For cheesecake filling:

2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese

3 large eggs

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Zest from 1 lemon

½ cut full-fat Greek yogurt (or sour cream)

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

For compote:

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

4 large peaches, diced (about 3 cups)

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon bourbon or whiskey or water

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners and set aside.
  3. In a bowl, combine crust ingredients: melted butter, pulverized graham crackers, cinnamon and salt until well mixed.
  4. Divide mixture evenly and press into cupcake liners. Chill in the refrigerator while making the filling.
  5. To make the cheesecake filling, beat the cream cheese with an electric hand or stand mixer on low until all the lumps are gone. Then add in eggs one at a time and beat on low until creamy. Then add in sugar and beat on low until creamy.
  6. Add in vanilla, lemon zest, Greek yogurt and cinnamon. Beat on low just until combined. Pour evenly in cupcake tins.
  7. Set the cupcake pan on a foil lined roasting pan and fill half way with water to create a water bath.
  8. Bake for 20-30 minutes until cheesecake is set but still jiggles a little. Cool on a wire rack, and then refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
  9. When ready to eat, make the compote. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan. Add the peaches and stir while cooking until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add in sugar, vanilla and your choice of bourbon, whiskey or water. Return to heat and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until the peaches are soft and sauce is thick.
  10. Carefully remove the cheesecakes from the liners and top with warm compote and whipped cream if desired. Enjoy!