It’s that time of year again, when cheesecakes galore are popping up all over the place. To be honest, I am not cheesecake’s biggest fan, but this recipe is one even I enjoy. The actual cheesecake is lighter, with a slight lemony undertone, and the fresh fruit helps temper the richness.

You can use this cheesecake as a base and add the topping of your choice. Some suggestions: caramel, chocolate ganache, fresh berries, pie filling, lemon curd, roasted rhubarb, etc. I went very simple with oranges, kiwis and strawberries.

Why are we talking about cheesecake? The holiday of Shavuot is almost upon us, when we celebrate the giving of the Torah by hearing the Ten Commandments being read in the synagogue. Some of the customs specific to this holiday include decorating our homes with greenery and eating dairy foods.

This recipe is closely based on Matt Preston’s cheesecake recipe. I’ve made one or two very small adjustments.

Prepare the pan:

  • You will need a 9-inch springform pan for this recipe. If you don’t have a springform pan, you can use a regular pan, but the cake will be difficult to remove. You may need to cut it while it’s still in the pan.
  • This cheesecake cooks best in a water bath, so you’ll need a larger pan that the springform pan can sit in.
  • Wrap the outside of the springform pan in 2–3 layers of foil. This helps keep the water from seeping through the crack around the base.

Crust Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. / 120 grams tea biscuits, crushed
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 8 tbsp. butter, melted
  • Pinch of salt

Crust Directions:

  1. Crush the tea biscuits to a fine crumb, and mix with the sugar, salt and melted butter.
  2. Press the mixture down firmly into the base of the springform pan. Use the back of a spoon to help compress the mixture.
  3. Bake at 350° F for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.

Cheesecake Ingredients:

  • 24 oz. cream cheese (3 cups)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2½ tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1¼ cup heavy cream

Cheesecake Directions:

  1. Let the cream cheese come to room temperature.
  2. Using an electric mixer (stand or handheld), beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, and mix until fully incorporated.
  3. Add the eggs one a time. Wait until each one is fully incorporated before adding the next.
  4. Pour in the lemon juice, vanilla and salt, and mix. Slowly pour in the heavy cream, and mix until smooth.
  5. Pour the cheese mixture over the base.
  6. Place the springform pan into the larger pan, and add 1 inch of water to the larger pan.
  7. Bake at 350° F for approximately 60–75 minutes. In order not to overcook the cake, turn off the oven when the center is still jiggly (but not completely wet). Leave the cheesecake to cool in the oven for an hour. Then remove and let it cool completely.
  8. Refrigerate cake until cold. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, then gently release the springform.
  9. Top with fresh fruit. I used orange, kiwi and strawberries.