Here we go with another Passover recipe. I am trying to learn a little about Jewish cooking by surfing the Internet. So far, all the websites I have looked at give recipes, but don't say why. Why cottage cheese instead of cream cheese? Why potato starch? (I know it's a thickening agent, like cornstarch, but why potato instead of corn?) Why matzoh meal instead of graham crackers? (Do graham crackers have yeast?)
This cheesecake is acceptable, but not nearly as good as Cheesecake with Beer (April 11, 2012) also known as Steve's Grandmother's Cheesecake.
Looking back over the other cheesecake recipes in the book, they seem to be evenly divided between cream cheese cheesecake and cottage cheese cheesecake. Passover cheesecake is cottage cheese cheesecake. I have to say, I prefer cream cheese cheesecake. The curds in the cottage cheese rise to the surface and form a topping, so to speak, The underside is creamy. The grated lemon rind gives the mixture a lovely lemony taste.
For the non Jew, the biggest hurdle to making this might be getting the ingredients. Honestly, don't sweat it. The ethnic food aisle of my local Safeway has matzoh meal, even though Passover won't be for another month and a half, starting on March 25. It did not have potato starch, but my favorite weird store, Rodman's Drugstore, did have it. For those of you not living within driving distance of Rodman's or a Jewish deli with groceries, you can order it off the Internet. Bob's Red Mill, my favorite source of gluten free flour, also sells potato starch. Go to www.bobsredmill.com. (According to Wikipedia, potato starch will tolerate a higher heat than corn starch. I don't know exactly what this means, or why it is important since the average cook does not make sauces over high heat, but there it is.) Chances are good that your grocery store will have matzoh meal, especially as Passover approaches.
I made this on Superbowl Sunday when my brother came to dinner. My brother does follow football to some extent. (He knew who Joe Flacco was, for example.) However, he did not particularly mind missing a lot of the game for Downton Abbey, the PBS show resolutely made fun of by Garrison Keilor and other announcers on National Public Radio. We switched off the game just after the half time kickoff return by the Ravens when the lights went out, and tried to follow it on the radio as we drove George back to Arlington. Football is not like baseball, a sport made for the radio. It's a lot faster for one thing. The announcers were talking so fast, I couldn't understand what they were saying.
This cheesecake recipe seemed to go pretty quickly. My memory of the others were of hours spent mixing and further hours spent baking. Passover cheesecake baked for an hour, and cooled in the oven with the door open for an hour, the hour we used to go get George. When we came home, it was done.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the matzoh meal, cinnamon, one-quarter cup of the sugar and the butter. Press into bottom and sides of ungreased nine-inch springform pan.
3. Gradually beat the remaining sugar into the eggs. (I shook three or four tablespoons of sugar into the eggs at a time and beat them for five minutes.) (Gradually means don't dump it all in at once.) Beat in the lemon juice, salt, milk, cottage cheese and potato starch.
4. Stir in the lemon rind and pour into the prepared crust. Bake one hour.
5. Shut oven heat off, leave door ajar and let cake cool down to room temperature in the oven. Chill thoroughly. Remove pan sides. Makes ten to 12 servings.