Category Archives: dessert

Say Cheese…Cake!

In my opinion, there is no better combination of flavors for dessert then sweet and sour.  Any dessert with citrus is usually my top order at restaurants or the dessert I am most excited to make (and then of course eat)!   Cheesecake always seems too heavy and plain for me so I decided to jazz it up by adding a citrus component to the mix and lightening up the cheesecake filling.  Four layers make up this fabulous full flavored cheesecake!

Graham Cracker Crust  +  Lime Curd+  Lime Cheesecake + Sour Cream Chocolate Ganache = The most amazing, eye catching and delicious dessert you could put on your table for Shavuot!

Lime Cheesecake with Sour Cream Chocolate Ganache

Makes 2-14″x4″Tart Pan or 1-8″ Round Springform Pan

Lime Curd:

6 Egg Yolks
3/4 C. Sugar
8 Tbs. Fresh Lime Juice
1 Tsp. Lime Peel, grated


1 3/4 C. Graham Crackers, finely ground (about 12 whole graham crackers)
1/4 C. Sugar
1/2 C. Butter, melted


2 (8-ounce) Packages Cream Cheese, room temperature
2/3 C. Sugar
2 Eggs
4 Tbs. Lime Juice
1 Tbs. Lime Peel, grated
1 16 Oz. Container Sour Cream

Sour Cream Chocolate Ganache:

2 ½ C. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 C. Sour Cream
3 Tbs. Oil

Lime Curd:

Whisk all ingredients together in a small saucepan over medium heat.  While whisking constantly, bring to a boil and let boil for 30 seconds.  The ingredients should thicken.  Put the side.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two 14×4 inch tart/quiche pan with non-stick cooking spray.  In a bowl, mix together the graham crackers, sugar and butter until thoroughly combined.  Press half the crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and on the sides of each pan. Bake 5 minutes. Cool completely.

With an electric hand mixer, mix the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, lime juice, lime peel and sour cream until completely blended.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Pour half of the curd on each graham cracker crust.  Spread carefully with the back of a spoon or side of a knife until the bottom of each crust is covered.  Pour the cheesecake filling on top of the curd and spread evenly.  Bake for 40-45 minutes until the cheesecake is set.  When cheesecake is done, set on a cooling rack and make the ganache.

In a medium saucepan melt the chocolate chips, oil and sour cream over medium-low heat until thoroughly combined and smooth.  Stir constantly so the chocolate does not burn.  Spread evenly over each tart and smooth with the back of a spoon or knife.  Sprinkle with lime zest and/or sea salt if desired.  Refrigerate until ready to eat.  May be refrigerated for 2 days or frozen up to 1 month.

Charo”Set” For Dessert

What’s better than a dainty and delicious macaron? A macaron tart!  Much less time consuming, this dessert feeds a full table of guests and is the perfect sweet ending to beautiful seder.  Keeping with the Passover theme, I thought it would be so much fun to create a macaron inspired with the flavors of the seder.  Horseradish, parsley, egg and potato were all out…but charoset caught my attention.  Apples, walnuts and cinnamon…now that is something I can work with!
A cinnamon macaron crust, apple buttercream frosting, all accompanied by a ground walnut and apple butter compote…the result is amazing!
Enjoy and have a very happy Pesach!

Charoset Macaron Tart

Serves 6-8

Cinnamon Macaron Crust

4 Egg Whites
1 2/3 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 1/3 Cup Almond Flour
Pinch of Salt
¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon

Apple Butter Buttercream

½ Cup Butter or margarine, softened
1 ¼ Cup Powdered Sugar
¼ Cup Apple Butter

Walnut and Apple Butter Compote

½ Cup Ground Walnuts
½ Cup Apple Butter
Preheat oven to 280 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  With an electric mixer, beat egg whites until foamy, slowly add in granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until the egg whites reach stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, almond flour, salt and cinnamon together.  Fold the flour mixture into the egg whites until thoroughly combined. 

On one cookie sheet, scoop out ½ the batter, about 1 ¼ cups.  Scoop the other half on the other sheet. With a spatula, carefully spread each of the mixtures into an 8 inch circle.  With the back of a spoon, try to even out the top.  Let sit for 15 minutes to dry and develop a crust.  Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.

In a bowl add the butter, powdered sugar and apple butter.  With an electric mixer, beat until the mixture is combined and it becomes soft and spreadable.

Carefully turn one of the macarons over and peel the parchment paper of the bottom.  This will be the bottom of your tart.  Evenly spread the buttercream over the macaron.  Carefully flip the other macaron over and peel off the parchment paper.  Place the side facing the pan on top of the buttercream.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar

Combine the walnuts and apple butter in a separate bowl and serve a few tablespoons with each serving of the macaron tart.




One “Hal-a-vah” Cupcake!

As a presenter at Kosherfest for the Israel pavilion this year, I had to come up with my spin on an Israeli brunch.  I decided to focus on dessert first.  What would I create that no one else has ever done before?  As I was pondering the many delicacies I could put into action, I kept having this image of halvah (a sweet sesame confection) in my head.  That sweet, melt in your mouth, yet dry dessert I tasted in the Jerusalem market place (shuk) so many times!  I couldn’t make halvah though…that would be way to intricate for my demonstration of 5 different dishes in my meager 45 minute time slot.  
Had I ever eaten halvah in any other way than in its pure form?  Yes! Yes I had!
In Israel, around Hannukah, the streets are FILLED with the smell and aroma of sufganiyot (donuts).  They are traditionally made with jelly inside, but there is one special shop in the middle of the city that has the most unusual flavors and fillings one could ever imagine.  I happened upon it one day in the early morning (we’re talking 5 am) on the way to the Western Wall.  The sun was just starting to rise and I smelled something so amazing coming from one of the bakeries.  I peaked my head in and looked at the crazy assortment of unique flavored donuts, one of theme being halvah.  I picked the donut up, paid for it and after one bite I. Was. In. Heaven.  It was silky and sweet and totally worth waking up that early.   
That was my inspiration for this Israeli dessert!  Cupcakes are in no way, shape or form an Israeli dessert, but after all, this was MY take on an Israeli Brunch.  The addition of figs in the vanilla cupcake compliment the halvah nicely and adds a bite of texture.  I also added a bit more halvah to the top and a drizzle of silan (date honey), which happens to be the “honey” when referencing Israel as the “land of milk and honey”.  The halvah frosting is a bit heavy as a filling for the donut, but was great on top of the donut 🙂   


Dried Fig Cupcakes with Halvah Cream Cheese Frosting
(can be made parve or dairy)

Makes 24 mini cupcakes


½ C. Unsalted Butter or Earth Balance,  room temperature
2/3 C. Sugar
3 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 ½ C. Flour
1 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
¼ tsp. Salt
¼ C. Milk or Almond Milk
½ C. Dried Figs, roughly chopped

Preheat your oven to 350F.  Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Cream your butter and sugar until light and fluffy,  using electric beaters.   Add the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture to incorporate each egg before adding the next.  Beat in the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients and the milk to the egg/butter mixture alternating in three additions (add in some flour, then some milk, then some flour, then some milk, then the rest of the flour) until combined. Fold in your figs and pour into the muffin cups.  Bake for 10-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cupcake comes out clean.

Halvah Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/2 C. Butter or Earth Balance, room temperature
1/2 C. Cream Cheese or Tofutti Cream Cheese
1 C. Halvah
2-3 C. Powdered Sugar

Pinch of Salt

1 Tbs. Milk or Almond Milk
1 Tbs. Vanilla Extract

Whip the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth.  Mix in the halvah.  Add the powdered sugar and continue to mix until just combined.   Add more  or less depending on desired consistency of icing. Add the salt and  continue to beat until the mixture is smooth.

Mix in the cream and vanilla on medium speed until just incorporated, and then increase to high speed until the icing is soft and fluffy.
Garnish with pistachios, candied pecans, candied walnuts, silan, figs or halva pieces

Sufganiyot (Basic Donut Recipe)
Makes about 20 donuts

1 Packet (1/4 Oz.) Yeast
1 Tbs. Sugar
1/4 C. Warm Water

3/4 C. Almond Milk or Milk
4 C. Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1 Egg
2 Egg Yolks
1/4 C. Sugar
1/3 C. Earth Balance or Butter, melted

Combine the yeast, sugar and water.  Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In a separate bowl add the flour, salt, almond milk yeast mixture, egg, egg yolks, sugar and earth balance.  Stir with a wooden spoon until combined.  Transfer to a clean and floured surface.  Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.  You may add more flour if too sticky.  Let the dough rest in an oiled bowl for 1 hour, covered.  Punch dough down and divide in half.

Lightly flour the clean counter and roll the dough about ½ inch thick.  Cut with a drinking glass or cookie cutter and place on parchment paper.  Let rise for 45 minutes. 

Add 3 inches of oil to deep fryer and heat oil to 350 – 365 degrees F. over medium heat.

Cooking in small batches, carefully add donuts to hot oil. Fry 1 minute per side until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer donuts to wire rack or paper towel to cool.  Fill or ice the top with desired filling.

Enjoying the original halvah sufganiyot!