Some just make sure to have a bite of cheesecake, while others have full-fledged dairy meals, but most people have the custom to eat at least some dairy on Shavuos.
When the Jews accepted the תורה, they wished to celebrate. However, they now had to obey new and complex laws of כשרות. Preparing kosher meat was a great task, and they therefore prepared a dairy meal instead. We commemorate this because it illustrates both the joy that the Jews displayed over accepting the תורה as well as the fact that the Jews put their newfound wisdom into practice immediately.
Others say we eat dairy to symbolize Eretz Yisroel, the land flowing with milk and honey. Some people also say that Shavuos is a spring festival, a time when the most cheese was produced.
Regardless of the reason, most of us wouldn’t mind digging into some cheesecake! Find a great recipe below.
- 2 C graham crackers (about 15 double crackers)
- 3 Tbsp. sugar
- 6 Tbsp. butter, melted
- 1 and 1/2 lbs. unwhipped cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 C sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 C sour cream
- 12 oz. Dulce de leche (caramel sauce), room temperature, divided
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wrap the outside of a nine- or 10-inch springform with heavy-duty foil, ensuring the foil extends beyond top of the pan. For ease in removing cheesecake from a springform bottom, put a piece of parchment paper on the bottom before patting in crust.
- In a food processor, crush graham crackers and sugar until it resembles crumbs. Stir in the melted butter. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and sides of the pan. The crumbs need not reach the top. Freeze crust until needed.
- Beat cream cheese and sugar only until no lumps are visible. Add eggs, lemon and vanilla and mix until incorporated, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Add sour cream and mix for one minute longer.
- Spread half the dulce de leche over the crumb crust. Pour batter over the caramel.
- Put the springform into a large roaster. Pour hot water into the roaster until it reaches halfway up the sides of the springform. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in the water bath.
- Turn off oven and allow cake to rest in warm oven for 45 minutes longer. Remove springform from the roaster and run a spatula or knife around the edge of the cake. Chill thoroughly for five to six hours. Do not attempt to remove the cake from the pan before it is completely cooled.
- When cake is chilled, run a knife around the edge once again and open the buckle. Gently lift ring off the cake.
- Melt the remaining dulce de leche. Pour over the top of the cake and chill.