White House Cheesecake


They may not know about Shavuot but the White House pastry chef, Bill Yosses, does make a marvelous cheesecake, or so the Obamas say. Supposedly, this cheesecake recipe has been passed down from chef to chef and has been served since the Eisenhowers lived in the White House. The perfect American Shavuot recipe – kosher cheesecake at its patriotic best!

For the crust:
1 stick butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the pan
6 ounces chocolate wafer cookies
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour

For the filling:
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons honey
½ cup sour cream, at room temperature
¼ cup heavy cream, at room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Sour cream or crème fraiche fro topping (optional)

Crust: Heat oven to 300 degrees. Butter and 8 –inch spring form or plain cake pan, and line bottom with parchment paper. Spread cookies on a baking pan and toast until very dry, about 10 minutes. Remove and leave oven on. Pulse in a food processor to make crumbs. Mix one cup lightly packed crumbs in a bowl with sugar and flour and then mix in melted butter. Pour into prepared pan and pres s in evenly.

Filling: In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix cream cheese until smooth and fluffy, scraping down sides to eliminate lumps. Add sugar and honey, and mix until smooth. Crape down sides and add sour cream and heavy cream, then mix for 2 minutes.

With mixer running, add vanilla and then eggs one at a time and mix until completely smooth. Pour over cookie base.

Place pan in a larger baking pan. Fill that with hot water halfway up the side of the cake pan to make a water bath. Bake 80 to 90 minutes, or until just set. To test for doneness, shake cake pan gently. There should be no liquidity but it should undulate in a mass, like Jell-O. Remove from the oven to a rack and let it cook, then refrigerate it in the pan for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

If using spring form, remove the ring. If using a plain cake pan, warm bottom of pan over a very low flame one minute, moving it constantly to distribute hat. Invert cake onto a plate, then quickly re-invert onto a serving plate.

Frost top of cake with a think layer of sour cream, if using.

Still hungry? Here’s another delicious kosher cheesecake recipe.

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