In the early days of the moshav we held a baking contest judged by our local cake mavens – the guys. I was up against some stiff competition as the moshav ladies are real pros. This first place cheesecake is now impossible to make because one of the important crust ingredients is long gone. We brought granola to Israel schlepping it literally on our backs in packs to the few little health food stores that barely existed in the 70’s. The Israelis were still eating herring for breakfast! We rented after-hours baking time in a “conditoria” in the Talpiot industrial zone.
At our height our granola factory distributed 25 different whole grain products to all the major supermarket chains including the cinnamon flavored sugarless date bar cookies I used in my cheesecake crust. Then the 80’s hit when inflation was over 300% and we had to import oats from the USA, pay for them in cash dollars on the barrelhead and only get paid from the local stores in deflated shekels 3 months later, oh well. Now our granola factory is being rented out by the Jewish Agency who owns the building to Adama – the largest distribution center for organic food in the country. This alternative recipe will just have to do…
Crust: Use any old cookies instead of date bars; my next best alternative is chocolate coated Petit Beurre biscuits. Try not to grumble as you crumble them with 3T butter 1-t cinnamon and add ice water until you get stiff enough dough to press into a pie pan.
Filling: Plop a tub of 5% white cheese 3 eggs 1C white sugar 1-T lemon rind, the juice of one lemon and 1-t vanilla into your blender and whiz splash whirr it up to frothiness. Pour the cheesy mess into the crust and shove it in the 350 degree oven for ½ hour or till the top is set.
Topping: Stir 1-T white sugar into a container of sour cream and spread it on top of the mostly baked cake and continue baking for another 10 minutes.
Eating: Stay up all night studying Torah on Shavuot to merit eating this creamy rich delight in the morning with a steaming cup of café.