Cheesecake… without the cake

Recipe made by: Reuben Cohen, Robbie Shorr

Welcome back to Kosher Kollege! Thank you to everyone for being patient through this excruciating summer hiatus. Kosher Kollege is back now, and I’m excited to see what its future holds.

I must preface this recipe by explaining that it was made for Shavuot. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would make a cheesecake from scratch any other time of the year. And after making this recipe with my good friend Reuben before we spent Shavuot together, I’m not sure anyone should make a cheesecake from scratch, ever. Period. At least, not someone with no experience making cheesecake who is also too stubborn and confident to use a recipe.

This recipe, like many recipes on Kosher Kollege, was an experiment. Of course, this gung-ho DIY attitude can lead to useful and tasty discoveries in the kitchen, as has hopefully been shown in a multitude of previous posts. On the other hand, however, just going for it can cause certain elements of a dish to end up laughably disastrous. (See: non-triangular Hamantashen). That’s exactly what happened with the texture of this dish.

Reuben and I were set on making an apple cheesecake. We were also set on making a no-bake cheesecake. These two desires combined to create a cheesecake too liquidy to rightfully be called “cake”. That being said, the flavors were successful enough to salvage a yummy pudding out of this attempted cheesecake. This just demonstrates what we already knew: no experiment truly fails.

Ingredients:

  • Graham crackers
  • 1 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 8-oz packages of cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Macintosh apples
  • Lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9-inch round baking dish.
  2. Crush the graham crackers and mix with 1/2 a stick of the butter. Press this mixture into the bottom of the baking dish.
  3. Bake the crust at 350°F for 8 minutes.
  4. Combine the remaining stick of butter, the brown sugar, and the heavy cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until thick and, well, caramely. Allow the caramel to cool.
  5. Mix one package of cream cheese with 1 cup of powdered sugar and some vanilla. Repeat.                                                                                                                                        IMG_2051
  6. Mix the cooled caramel into one of the cream cheese mixtures until the desired consistency is achieved.                                                                                       IMG_2052
  7. Coat the graham cracker crust with the remaining caramel.IMG_2053
  8. Mix the grated apple and lemon juice into the other cream cheese mixture.IMG_2054
  9. Pour the caramel mixture into one half of the dish. Pour the apple mixture into the other half. Using a spoon, swirl to create a spiral pattern.
  10. Chill for at least 6 hours before serving.

Why this recipe is good for college students: Though cheesecake is viewed as a high-end dessert, this recipe can be made with only basic baking ingredients. Additionally, it can be made using whatever fruit you have on hand, not just apple, allowing for flexibility and customizability.

Why this recipe is good for those who keep Kosher: Of course, Shavuot being the dairy holiday, it would be silly to make a parve dessert. Between the butter, cream, and cream cheese, this recipe takes advantage by going heavy on the dairy.

What I would do differently if I made this recipe again

  • The wateriness of the grated apple completely threw off the texture of the cream cheese mixture. There’s just no way around it. However, the flavor of the apple worked so well in this dish that it’s worth investigating other ways to incorporate it into this dish. If making this dish again, I would top the caramel cream cheese mixture with apples baked apple-pie-style, hoping to capture the flavor of the apples without watering down the cheesecake.
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