Plain new york cheesecake on a plate recipe jewish sour cream
Photo credit Arx0nt via Getty Images

Quick and Easy Cheesecake Pie 

Whether you opt for a graham cracker or regular pie crust, this recipe will become your go-to.

Jewish immigrants from southern and Eastern Europe who came to the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were central to creating today’s popular cheesecake culture. New York delis Reuben’s and Lindy’s feuded about which was the originator of the classic New York-style cheesecake. Sometimes called Jewish style, this is the cheesecake most popular today: cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, vanilla and sugar, baked in a crumb dough. In the past, a spongecake crust was also popular. Cream cheese and toppings of fresh fruit or fruit in a sweetened syrup are American creations as well.

Today, the U.S. has more cheesecake recipes and varieties than anyplace else in the world. For me, though, after all the many, many recipes for cheesecake, my go-to is an easy, less sweet cheesecake pie, close in taste and consistency to the kind German Jewish immigrants brought to America.

My recipe is a hybrid of American and German versions, using farmers cheese for some curd mixed with cream cheese. Hold the sour cream and use a little yogurt instead for that little extra bit of tang. A graham cracker or cookie crust adds a modern twist. To be more authentic, use a dough pie crust, especially one with yeast. Many of the cheesecakes throughout the centuries used dried fruit, so I like that in this version. But I admit that in summer, I sometimes substitute with fresh blueberries.

Considering how far cheesecake has wandered before finding stardom in this country, it seems yet another reason to enjoy, especially at Shavuot.

Read more about the Jewish history of cheesecake here

Note: Once baked and cooled, this cheesecake is also good with your favorite fruit preserve spread gently on top.

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Easy cheesecake recipe jewish dessert
Photo credit Arx0nt via Getty Images

Quick and Easy Cheesecake Pie 

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This easy, tangy cheesecake recipe is ready in under 45 minutes.

  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 graham cracker or other cookie crust, or a regular pie crust
  • ⅓ cup superfine sugar
  • ⅓ cup (¾ stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese or Neufchâtel cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 6 oz farmers cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ⅓ cup yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten well
  • grated zest of 1 large lemon or a small orange
  • ½ cup chopped up dried fruit such as apricots, prunes or golden raisins, or ½ cup fresh blueberries (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Follow directions for your favorite graham cracker or cookie crust. If using regular pie crust dough, roll it out and line a greased 8-inch tart or pie pan.
  2. Prick the bottom several times with a fork and bake for 10 minutes to crisp the crust. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool a bit before filling.
  3. Let the cheeses and butter soften to room temperature. If you don’t have superfine sugar, put it in a blender or food processor and pulse until fine.
  4. In a food processor, add the butter to the sugar and pulse to cream until light. Add the softened cheeses and yogurt, and pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the eggs and process until smooth and creamy. Pulse in the zest just until evenly mixed.
  5. If not using a food processor, in a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light. Add the softened cheeses and yogurt, and beat together until well blended. Beat in the eggs and mix very well. Stir in the zest and, if using, the dried fruit.
  6. Once the filling is ready, fill the cooled pie shell with the mixture. Put the cheesecake into the very hot preheated oven, then immediately turn the heat down to 350°F. Bake until the filling is set, about 25-28 minutes. Let cool.
  7. Serve with fresh fruit or berries and whipped cream.

Notes

Once baked and cooled, this cheesecake is also good with your favorite fruit preserve spread gently on top.

  • Author: Susan Barocas
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Ashkenazi

2 comments

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    • The Nosher

      Hi Dror, it’s a mild, fresh curd cheese. You could substitute it for cottage cheese (drain it first for an even closer match), but it’s very easy to make at home. There are lots of recipes available online. Enjoy!

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