Imagine a holiday ritual that invites you to dig into a delicious, creamy slice of cheesecake. On the Jewish calendar, that holiday is known as Shavuot, the springtime festival that celebrates when the Jewish people received the Torah on Mount Sinai.
While it is unclear exactly why Jews eat dairy-laden meals on Shavuot, we’re not complaining. In fact, we're always looking for new recipes to add to the mix.
Just like our network members, these recipes are creative and diverse. From sweet to savory, healthy to indulgent, snack to meal, there’s something here for everyone and every time of day.
Don’t miss these 10 delicious ways to enjoy dairy on Shavuot and all year long. B’tei Avon!
Photo: La Latina
Every time I make this crema agria for dairy lovers, people’s eyes light up and they always ask me for the recipe. In the U.S., you can find this cream in specialty supermarkets, but when I was living in New Zealand, I needed to make this recipe to get my crema fix. This is my homemade version. Add it on top of your tacos, quesadillas and chilaquiles, or put it inside your arepas. – Grace Ramirez, REALITY alumna and author of the cookbook, La Latina
Photo: Aliza J. Sokolow
I grew up going to a Jewish day school and always loved eating cheesecake and ice cream for Shavuot. I only eat these foods once a year, still! After REALITY Taste in Israel, I traveled to Paris and spent time with my dear friend, Dorie Greenspan, who created this user-friendly recipe. I recently made it while visiting Chicago. I brûléed the top and added some steeped California cherries. What better way to celebrate the California Cherry harvest than with this recipe? Bon appétit! – Aliza J. Sokolow, REALITY alumna
Photo: Lauren Kolyn
These addictive and dangerous crackers are pretty easy to make, but infinitely easier to eat! The recipe comes from the iconic 1950's Hadassah cookbook, A Treasure for My Daughter, which Sydney's great-grandmother helped edit. – Sydney Warshaw and Kat Romanow, ROI Community Members and founders of The Wandering Chew
Photo: Jehan Powell
Not only does this recipe taste amazing, but it's also packed full of things that are good for you. It's a hearty smoothie that will keep you feeling satisfied. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and has many health benefits, such as taming heartburn and stomach issues; it’s a win-win! It also adds to the beautiful color of this smoothie! – Jehan Powell, REALITY alumna and author of Jehan Can Cook
Photo: Emily Jane Freed
The fragrance of the Meyer lemon comes through in this easy, old-fashioned pudding, which separates during baking into a sponge layer on top and a creamy custard underneath. This recipe comes together in a few minutes, and the water bath does all the work. If you don't have Meyer lemons on hand, other types of citrus such as limes and grapefruit work too. –Emily Jane Freed, ROI Community Member and founder of Farmer Freed
Photo: The Gefilteria
Rather than being exclusively cream cheese and really thick and dense, this European-style cheesecake is lighter and fluffier, thanks to the farmers cheese. The rye caraway crust connects it to the Jewish flavors of the deli and the red currant glaze on top brings it all together. It's a perfect fit for Shavuot. – Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Elizabeth Alpern, ROI Community Members and co-founders of The Gefilteria.
Photo: Laurina Todesaite
Depending on your mood, these cookies can be made sweet or savory. You can use sugar, cinnamon, caraway seeds, cumin, paprika, zaatar or whatever you have and like. Minimum ingredients and effort, maximum pleasure and compliments. You can serve them with dips or wine or beer, depending on your toppings. – Laurina Todesaite, ROI Community Member and founder of the #CookJewishBeJewish project.
Photo: Jeff Miller
This is one of those recipes you should be able to make with whatever you've got sitting around the house – as long as you have recently eaten a couple nice loafs of bread. – Jeff Miller, REALITY alumnus
Photo: Lana Alman
Inspired by the sweet taste of my Moldovan childhood, I've created a recipe for blinchiki (pancakes in Russian) with a modern twist. I've replaced whole wheat flour with tapioca flour, which makes these gluten-free, and also use goat milk kefir instead of regular cow milk. Raisins add a lot of sweetness, so I don't add any sugar, and only drizzle honey on top as needed. – Lana Alman, ROI Community Member and author of Healthy Seed.
Photo: Rafram Chaddad
This is a great, simple Jewish recipe with milk, from Trieste in Northern Italy. The name of the dish, in a mélange of Arabic, Hebrew and Italian, means “blessed pumpkin” (barukh, barika). Pumpkin is a Jewish ingredient in Northern Italy, and this recipe show how great it can be. – Rafram Chaddad, ROI Community Member
Want one more delicious dairy recipe for Shavuot?
Watch this video from The Gefilteria team to learn how to make sweet cheese blintzes.