Cultural and Culinary Arts

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Baked Cheesecake

Ingredients for the crust:

  • 1 cup                      Graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup                     Brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp                     Butter, melted
  • ½ each                    Lemon zest (zest from half a lemon)

Ingredients for the cake batter:

  • 2 cups                      Greek yogurt
  • 1 ½ cups                  Sour cream
  • 3 each                      Eggs, large
  • 1 ¾ cups                  Powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp                      Flour
  • 3 Tbsp                     Cornstarch
  • 1 ½ tsp                    Vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean scraped)
  • 1 each                      Lemon zest
  • 1 each                      Orange zest

Ingredients for topping:

  • 1 cup                      Sour cream
  • 2/3 cup                   Powdered sugar


  1. Prepare 8’ ring with parchment and foil on the bottom and spray with pan spray. Place on the baking sheet.
  2. Mix all crust ingredients together, place in the bottom of the prepared ring, and pack crust making sure it is flat and even.
  3. Mix all of the filling ingredients together, pour them into the ring. Bake at 325F for 10 and then lower the temperature to 280F for another 40 minutes until the center of the cake sets and the whole cake giggles together.
  4. While the cake is baking mix together the sour cream and powdered sugar for the topping. When the cake is ready pull it out of the oven, spread the topping, and place back in the oven at 350F for 5 minutes.
  5. Let the cake cool for 30 minutes before refrigerating overnight.


Bread Pudding


  • 6 cups                   Bread, 1” cubes slightly toasted
  • 1/3 cup                 Sugar
  • 2 cups                   Milk
  • 2 each                   Eggs
  • 1 tsp                     Vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup                 Chocolate chips


  1. Cut the bread to 1-inch cubes and lightly toast in the oven.
  2. Mix the sugar, milk, eggs and vanilla extract together.
  3. Add the bread to the liquid and press down to get all of the bread wet.
  4. Let the bread sit in the liquid for 30 minutes
  5. Spray a 6-cup pan. Place some of the bread mixture and the sprinkle chocolate chip. Continue alternating with the bread mixture and chocolate chips until they are all in the pan.
  6. Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes until the center in giggly and it is brown on top.
  7. Let it sit for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
  8. Serve with caramel sauce or any other sauce.


Challah in a Bag

 Yields 1 loaf


  • 1 Tbsp                   Dry yeast
  • 3 ½ cups               All-purpose flour
  • 1 cup                     Warm water
  • 4 Tbsp                   Granulated sugar
  • ½ Tbsp                  Salt
  • 1 each                   Eggs
  • ¼ cup                    Vegetable oil
  • 1 each                   Egg, lightly beaten for egg wash


  1. Using a one-gallon Ziploc bag. Place the yeast, sugar and warm water. Close the bag and shake, let it sit for a few minutes. Ad the Egg, salt and oil to the bag and shake again to break the egg. Add 3 cups of the flour, try to get all the air out of the bag before closing. Shake it well, roll the bag around and knead it slightly to blend in all the flour.
  2. Let the dough rise for one hour in the bag.
  3. Add the remaining ½ cup of flour in the bag and mix it so the dough comes away from the bag.
  4. Divide the dough to 3 pieces, adding more flour if needed (the dough will be very soft!), roll out each piece and braid.

Place on a baking sheet and let rise another 30 minutes. Brush with egg wash and bake @ 350F for 30-40 minutes.


Chocolate Balls


  • 7 Tbsp                Unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup               Semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/3 cup               Milk
  • 2 Tbsp                Date paste
  • 200 grams          Tea cookies (1 package)
  • Toppings            Sprinkles, cocoa powder, shredded coconut


  1. Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave, Set aside.
  2. Place the tea cookies in a gallon Ziplock bag. Crush the cookies in the bag.
  3. Place the crushed cookies in a bowl and mix together with the butter, chocolate, milk and date paste.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Scoop, roll in your hands and toss in your preferred toppings.
  6. Keep refrigerated.


Cookie Dough


  • 21 Tbsp                 Butter, softened
  • 10 Tbsp                 Sugar
  • 1 each                   Egg
  • ¾ tsp                    Vanilla extract
  • Pinch                     Salt
  • 3 1/3 cups             Flour
  • ½ tsp                    Lemon zest


  1. Place butter and sugar in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment.
  2. Cream together until smooth and light, scraping the sides of the bowl a few times.
  3. Add the egg, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Mix together until fully combined, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary.
  4. Add the flour and mix just until incorporated.
  5. Wrap in plastic wrap in rectangles about 1-inch thick and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  6. If dough is refrigerated over night let sit out for 30 minutes before rolling it out.
  7. Roll out to 1/8-inch thickness and cut in desired shapes.
  8. Bake at 325F for about 10-15 minutes until the edges of the cookies are golden (rotating the tray in the oven if necessary).
  9. Let completely cool before decorating.


Layered Tea Cookie Cake

 Ingredients for the cake:

  • ½ Tbsp                  Instant coffee (for dipping the cookies)
  • ½ Tbsp                  Boiling water (for dipping the cookies)
  • 1 cup                     Milk (for dipping the cookies)
  • 20 each                 Tea cookies (about 1 package)
  • 8 ounces               Cream cheese
  • ¼ cup                   Sugar
  • 1 ½ cups               Heavy cream
  • ½ cup                   Vanilla instant pudding

Ingredients for the ganache:

  • ½ cup                    Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup                  Heavy cream


  1. Dissolve coffee with water and mix with cold milk, set aside.
  2. Soften the cream cheese in the microwave and mix with the sugar until there are no more clumps.
  3. Whip together the heavy cream and vanilla pudding mix. When it thickens add the cream cheese mixture and continue whipping until thick.
  4. Dip each tea cookie in the milk mixture for 2-3 seconds.
  5. place the biscuits in a single layer on the bottom of a rectangle 8x6 pan.
  6. Spread a thin layer of the cream on the biscuits and place another layer of dipped biscuits on top.
  7. Repeat 2 more times to get 3 layers of tea cookies and 3 layers of cream, the top layer should be cream. Place in the freezer for 2 hours.
  8. To make the ganache, heat the cream and chocolate in the microwave (30 seconds at a time so it doesn’t overheat). Mix until fully incorporated.

pour the ganache over the top layer of the cream. Freeze for 2 more hours or refrigerate overnight. You can keep in the freezer for a week and defrost before serving.


Matza Lasagna


  • 3 each                 Matzah
  • 2 cups                 Tomato sauce
  • 8 oz                    Cottage cheese
  • 8 oz                    Mozzarella, shredded
  • 3 oz                    Parmesan cheese
  • 1 each                Egg, lightly beaten
  • To taste              Sautéed vegetables


  1. Soak each matzah in hot water for 30 seconds and set aside.
  2. Mix the cottage cheese, parmesan, mozzarella and egg together. Leave a small amount off parmesan and mozzarella aside to sprinkle on top.
  3. Lightly grease a square 8-inch pan.
  4. Spread a small amount of tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan and place one matzah on top of the sauce.
  5. Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture on the matzah and spread. If you are adding any sautéed vegetables spread some on top of the cheese layer and then cover with more tomato sauce.
  6. Continue placing the ingredients in the same order: Matzah, cheese, sautéed vegetables and tomato sauce. After you have spread the last layer of tomato sauce sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese on top.
  7. Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes until golden on top, let sit for 10 minutes before serving.


No-Bake Cheesecake

 Ingredients for the crumbs:

  • 1 cup                      Graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup                     Brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp                     Butter, melted
  • ¼ each                    Lemon zest (zest from half a lemon)

Ingredients for the cake batter:

  • 1 ¼ cups                  Heavy cream
  • 24 ounces                Cream cheese, softened (3 8oz packages)
  • ¼ cup                      Granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp                     Powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup                      Sour cream
  • 2 tsp                        Lemon juice
  • 1 tsp                        Vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean scraped)



  1. Mix together the ingredients for the crumbs.
  2. Combine the cream cheese and granulated sugar. Mix together until it is smooth scraping the sides and bottom.
  3. Add the powdered sugar, sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Mix until all combined.
  4. Using a whisk attachment on the electric mixer or by hand, whisk heavy cream to stiff peaks (if whisking by hand the heavy cream and the bowl should be cold).
  5. Fold the whipped cream with the cream cheese mixture until it is fully combined and there are no streaks. Place cheesecake mixture into a piping bag.
  6. Prepare individual cups or bowls. Sprinkle a layer of crumbs and then pipe the cream cheese mixture on top, refrigerate for 2 hours or more. Decorate with crumbs or fruit when serving.




  • 1 cup                     All-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp                   Sugar
  • 2 tsp                      Baking powder
  • ¼ tsp                     Baking soda
  • ½ tsp                     Salt
  • ¾ cup                    Buttermilk
  • 1 each                   Large egg
  • 2 Tbsp                   Vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp                     Vanilla extract


  1. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Mix the milk, egg, oil and vanilla in a small bowl.
  3. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir gently with a rubber spatula until just combined, the batter will still be a little lumpy. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Spray a nonstick pan with vegetable oil spray and heat over medium heat until hot, about 1 minute.
  5. Use a squeeze bottle or measuring cup to pour the batter on the pan. Make sure to leave space so they don’t stick together. When the batter is bubbly all over flip and cook the other side until done.


Passover Dinner Rolls


  • 2 cups                Matzah meal
  • 1 Tbsp                Sugar
  • ½ cup                 Oil, or butter
  • 2 tsp                   Salt
  • 1 cup                  Water
  • 4 each                Eggs 


  1. Combine the matzah meal, salt and sugar in a bowl.
  2. Bring water and oil to a boil.
  3. Add the boiling liquids to the matzah meal mixture and mix well.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time.
  5. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes.
  6. Using gloves or oil hands and shape the mixture into elongated rolls. The mixture will make about 12 medium rolls.
  7. Place on greased cookie sheet or line with parchment.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees.


Pizza Dough


  • ¾ cup                     Warm water
  • 1 tsp                       Active dry yeast (1 package)
  • 2 cups                     All-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp                     Olive oil
  • 1 tsp                       Salt
  • ½ tsp                      Sugar


Making the pizza dough:

  1. Place the warm water in a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the flour, salt, sugar and olive oil. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until a dough starts to form.
  3. Knead the dough by hand on a floured surface (adding flour as needed if it is too wet), the dough will be a little sticky.
  4. Spread a thin layer of olive oil over the inside of a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn it around so it gets coated with the oil.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise for 1 ½ hours in a warm place. Or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Pizza assembly:

  1. Preheat the oven to 475F.
  2. When using refrigerated dough let it sit in room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. Dust your hands with flour and punch the dough down so it deflates, divide the dough in half.
  4. Flatten the ball of dough starting at the center and working outwards using your fingertips (make sure the surface is floured so the dough won’t stick).
  5. Turn the dough and stretch until it reaches the desired diameter (10-12 inches).
  6. Transfer the dough to baking sheet lined with parchment (or a pizza stone) and brush lightly with olive oil. Let it sit while you spread out the second piece of dough.
  7. Spoon on 1/3 cup of tomato sauce and sprinkle with cheese and desired toppings.
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes until crust is browned and the cheese is golden.


Pizza Sauce


  • 1 can                     Whole peeled tomatoes, 14 oz can
  • ½ Tbsp                  Olive oil
  • 1 tsp                       Onion powder
  • ½ tsp                      Garlic powder
  • ½ tsp                     Dried basil
  • 1 tsp                      Dried oregano
  • ½ tsp                     Kosher salt
  • To taste                Black pepper


  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  3. Store sauce in the refrigerator until ready to use.


Royal Icing


  • 4 each                   Egg whites
  • ¾ tsp                      Lemon juice
  • 4 cups                   Powdered sugar
  • As needed             Food coloring


  1. Place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment and whip on high speed until foamy.
  2. Switch to low speed and gradually sift the powdered sugar into the egg whites until the sugar is completely incorporated.
  3. Add the lemon juice and whip on high speed until the icing is very thick and forms stiff peaks, 5-10 minutes.
  4. Separate to small bowls and color as desired.
  5. If you want to thin down the icing add water a few drops at a time until it is the right consistency.
  6. Use the thick icing for the boarders of the designs and fill in the center with the thinner icing.
  7. Let the cookies air dry until the icing hardens.
  8. If not using the icing immediately store in an airtight container refrigerated for up to 2 days.


Strawberry Fluff


  • 2 each                Egg whites
  • ½ cup                 Sugar
  • 1 ½ cups            Strawberries, sliced


  1. Place plastic containers in the freezer.
  2. Beat egg whites until foamy, gradually add the sugar.
  3. Add the sliced strawberries (mash a bit before for less strawberry chunks).
  4. Continue beating until mixture almost doubles in bulk.
  5. Freeze overnight.
  6. Large mixers can hold a double batch.



Yields 2 medium loaves


  • 2 ¼ tsp                            Dry yeast
  • 4 ¼ cups                         All-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup +1/8 cup               Warm water
  • ¼ cup                              Granulated sugar
  • ½ Tbsp                            Salt
  • 2 each                             Eggs
  • ¼ cup                              Vegetable oil
  • 1 each                             Egg, lightly beaten for egg wash


  1. Combine the water, sugar and yeast in a bowl to dissolve the yeast.
  2. Using an electric mixer with the dough hook or mixing by hand, add the eggs, oil, flour and salt. Continue kneading until dough is soft and elastic, not sticky.
  3. Place dough in a large greased bowl, turning over the dough to grease all sides. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
  4. Remove from bowl, punch down and cut in half. Divide each piece into 3 pieces for braiding.
  5. Cover and let rise in a warm place until the dough springs back lightly to the touch, about 1 hour. Heat the oven to 350F.
  6. Brush the dough very gently with egg wash (you could sprinkle toppings like sesame seeds or poppyseeds).
  7. Bake at 350F until the braids are dark golden brown and shiny, 20 to 30 minutes. Cool completely on a rack.



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Movies • T.V. • Books



Enjoy the Best Jewish Films FREE for 30 Days on CHAIFLICKS - The Jewish Streaming Service



Learn how to cook with Julia Child

10 of the best Israeli T.V. shows to watch



Enjoy FREE audiobooks on Audible

Books with Jewish themes or Jewish authors as recommended by Dana Susson, co-facilitator of the Books and Bagels, the JCC's monthly book club: (Books are listed alphabetically by author)

  • Invisible City  and Run You Down by Julia Dahl
  • On Division by Goldie Goldbloom
  • The World That We Knew, Faithful, and The Dovekeepers  by Alice Hoffman
  • Lilac Girls  by Hall Kelly
  • The Song of the Jade Lily  by Kirsty Manning
  • I am Forbidden  by Anouk Markovits
  • A Fall of Marigolds  and  Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner
  • All the Rivers by Dorit Rabinyan (Note: Gal Gadot will be making this into a movie)
  • An Unorthodox Match: A Novel by Naomi Ragen (We have read several of her books)
  • Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love  by Dani Shapiro
  • The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem: A Novel  by Sarit Yishay-Levi