There is a cheesecake sitting in my (boyfriend’s) refrigerator right now. At some point late last week I got it in my head that with Shavuot just around the corner I should make a cheesecake. Since I’m doing a time-share with my boyfriend’s kitchen, permission had to be granted by the relevant roommates, which was how I found myself late last night remembering how much I disliked baking.
But I’m terribly sentimental about food and of course my cheesecake comes with a story…
I went to Israel for the first time with the organization Livnot that in part markets their programs for people like me that (at the time at least) don’t know all that much about Judaism. Not only that, but I should also point out that I didn’t speak or read any Hebrew (sadly that hasn’t changed much, but I’m working on that). During the trip our group leaders referred to the participants as what sounded like “hevray,” which they told us was Hebrew for roughly “a community of friends.”
I found it endearing, but didn’t think too much about it until later in the program when I began to wonder why in all the literature the organization gave us they addressed us as cheese. “Hey Chevre, we are hiking Masada tomorrow so be up early…” Needless to say it took me quite a while to figure out that the chevre in this case was not the creamy goat’s cheese I had grown fond in France, but in fact that affectionate term “hevray” they had been calling us.
So after my, “oh, duh” moment, it gave me an idea. I loved chevre (goat’s cheese) cheesecake and had been working on my own version for a while. Since saying goat’s cheese cheesecake always seemed so redundant and silly, and not everyone knows what chevre cheesecake is, I could call my concoction Friends Cheesecake.
Okay, it’s a little corny, but here is the recipe used last night. I’ve been developing this over time, so I’m really interested in comments if anyone else gives it a try.
Le Petit Beurre Crust (yes, because I realized too late I didn’t have graham crackers)
1 1/2 cups le petit beurre biscuits finely chopped
1/3 melted unsalted organic butter
1/2 cup organic sugar
Melt the butter and sugar in a small pan. Bring to a rolling boil. Stir in biscuit crumbs. Press firmly into the bottom of a 9” spring-form pan (yes, the mixture will be hot so be careful). Bake 10 minutes at 375 degrees or until brown.
11 oz creamy goats cheese (chevre)
7.5 oz farmer’s cheese
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (roughly 6 limes juiced) more or less to taste
2 cups sugar (again feel free to adjust to taste)
8 large eggs separated
Mix cheeses, egg yokes, sugar and lime juice in large bowl.
In a separate bowl whip egg whites until peaks appear. Gently fold into cheese mixture.
Pour onto slightly cooled crust.
Bake at 350 degrees for and hour and a half or until the middle stops jiggling.
Cool and refrigerate. Serve with fresh berries.