Israeli cheese cake
If you are someone who comes from a migrant family tell me if the conversation in your home sounds something like this
My Mum: "We are so lucky to be in Australia, Australians don’t know how lucky they are, no wars, no bombing, the government looks after their people, it’s clean, people are polite BUT (there is always a but) who are we kidding, everything else is better in the old country: the culture, the history, the architect. And the food. Don’t get me started on the food. It’s so full of flavour. Just the perfect blend of spices and herbs cooked to a T. Australian’s, they don’t know what good food is! Meat pie! You call that food! t looks like something dog made in the street. And what’s vegemite? What is that? Is it made of tar? And the cakes, I haven’t had a decent one since I was in Tel Aviv. Israeli cheese cake! Nowhere in the world can you find a cheese cake like they make there. Nava, why you don’t make me a cheese cake. I ask you all the time you NEVER make me cheese cake and I love cheese cake. It’s my favourite. But make it like an Israeli cheese cake, now thats a beautiful cheese cake, not like the rubbish you get here…"
Me: “But, mum, the milk which Israeli cheese is made of is different from Australian milk; it changes the flavour and the texture.”
Mum: “ That’s right! Israel has the best cheeses in the world. Better than Belgium!"
“You mean, France…”
"France, yes, that’s what I said, France, anyway, make your poor mum a cheesecake. That's all I ask, I never ask you for cake just this cake, like the one in Tel aviv...
The cheese cake my mum lusts after is made with a cheese that has very low fat content and is light, fluffy and smooth in texture . There is nothing in Australia like it. I was at a loss, but luckily after sharing my dilemma with my friend Maria Keder (who is Greek but married to an Israeli) she said she figured out how to make a cheese resembling the one my mum is talking about.
I was delighted. I couldn’t wait to give it a try it made sense and I loved the fact that it wasn’t going to have a high fat content (if you don’t count the cream topping). I most definitely enjoyed it ... a little too much, as usual
If you have any stories of about your immigrant parents, I would love to hear them, come on tell me I’m not alone!
Please note I always use less sugar. The recipe here calls for 1 1/2 cups sugar but I only used 1 cup of sugar.
Here is my not-just-any-cheesecake cake!
6 large eggs
500g Greek yoghurt (I used Evia, you can get it from Harris farm)
250g Philadelphia cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons plain flour
5 tablespoons custard powder or instant pudding vanilla
125 mlx cream
1 cup + 1/2 cup sugar castor sugar
Pre heat the oven to 200c
Separate the eggs
In a large mixing bowl, mix the egg yellow, cheese, yoghurt, vanilla essence. Stir in cornflour and plain flour. Set aside
Whisk the egg white with one cup of sugar, adding 1 teaspoon of sugar at a time until firm peaks form. Set aside.
In a small bowl whip the cream and the custard powder or instant pudding vanilla with 1/2 cup sugar (I omitted the 1/2 cup of sugar)
Fold the whipped cream into the cheese mixture and then fold in the egg white into the cheese mixture.
Pour cheesecake mixture into a large spring-form cake pan lined with baking paper and bake on 200c for 15 min., then reduce the heat to 160c and continue to bake for another hour.
When cake is ready, DO NOT REMOVE from oven. let it stay in the oven for at least a couple of hours.
For best results, bake cake in a bath of water (trust me it’s worth the effort)
Wrap the outside of the cake tin with a double layer of aluminium foil making sure it’s sealed properly so water doesn’t enter the inside of the cake tin. (Having said that, water has entered the cake tin plenty of times when I’ve made it and the cake still turned out PERFECT. So don’t freak out if you get water seeping into the tin.)
Place the wrapped cake tin in a large roasting pan, and pour boiling water into the roasting pan - halfway up to the sides of the cake tin.
Place in the oven and bake according to instructions.
You can use this method with all baked cheese cakes; it never fails.
I love hearing from you! Let me know how it went and feel free to spread the word/passion/love, the more the merrier!
With love and gratitude