Cheesecakes are traditional for Shavuot (from sunset on June 4 until nightfall on June 6) due to the holiday’s many associations with dairy foods. Here I’ve combined mini cheesecakes with rhubarb and strawberries as a delicious way to celebrate the giving of the Torah.
The fruits combine to create a sweet, tart layer for the cheesecake, the texture of which is offset by the richness of the cheesecake. For a sweeter topping, add sugar to taste while the fruit is cooking.
Cheesecakes, toppings, and desserts can be made just before serving.
Mini cheesecake with rhubarb and strawberry
- 6 (3¼ ounces) wholegrain graham crackers
- 6 tablespoons. Melted unsalted butter
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. Sugar
- 24 oz. Brick style cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, scrambled
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. Lemon juice
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ cup plus ½ cup sour cream
- Rhubarb and strawberry topping (see below)
- 12 thin slices of strawberry
- Chopped mint leaves, optional
Prepare one topping recipe (see below) at room temperature. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Line a 12-hole cupcake pan or muffin pan with liners (or lay 12 cupcake liners on a sturdy baking sheet). Place the graham crackers in a food processor and break them into small crumbs (finely crushed but not powdered). Or put the cookies in an airtight plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Put in a medium bowl. Stir with melted butter and 2 tbsp. Sugar. Press crumbs into bottom of cupcake liners.
Cut the cream cheese into 1-inch pieces. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt. Beat with your electric hand or mixer over medium to high heat until light and lemony (2 minutes). Add cream cheese pieces in batches, and beat over medium heat until combined before adding the next batch. Once the cream cheese is incorporated, add ½ cup sour cream. Beat again on medium-high until the mixture is very smooth (3-4 minutes). Divide the cheesecake mixture among 12 layers.
Put a tablespoon on top of each cheesecake. Rhubarb and strawberry. Use a dinner knife to move the toppings through the mixture. Put the cheesecake in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheesecake centers are slightly loose and fluffy and tops are puffed. They will remain pale. (Timings vary.) Turn off the oven, open the oven door, and leave the cheesecake inside for 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack until completely cooled.
Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. (Can be made up to 4 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator and several weeks if frozen. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator before serving.) Serve chilled (or remove from refrigerator 20 minutes before serving). Remove the bushings if desired. The top of each cheesecake will have fallen off, making an indentation. Fill each indentation with a teaspoon. rhubarb, strawberries and 1 tsp. sour cream. Add a slice of strawberry. Garnished with mint.
Rhubarb and strawberry
- 3½ cups or 12 ounces fresh rhubarb, chopped. Frozen and chopped rhubarb (do not thaw)
- 2 terabytes. water or as needed
- 2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
- ½ tsp. vanilla
Place the rhubarb in a medium saucepan over medium heat with water (do not use water if it is frozen). coverage. Cook until very tender, stirring constantly, adding enough water if necessary so that the rhubarb does not stick to the pan or burn. Add strawberries and vanilla, stirring. Continue cooking, covered, until strawberries are soft. Remove the cover. flip over. Let any liquid evaporate.
Remove from heat and leave to cool a few minutes. Puree by hand or with a regular blender. Cool completely before using in the recipe. (Can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator. Keep at room temperature before use.) Use any toppings on ice cream or other desserts.