Passover Lemon Swirled Honey Cheesecake

Passover Lemon Swirled Honey Cheesecake with Pistachio Crust

The Shiksa’s Passover Potluck is a unique annual online event. I’ve invited my friends, both Jewish and non-Jewish, to share recipes that are kosher for Passover. My goals are simple– to foster mutual understanding between different cultures, to introduce you to my foodie friends, and to share yummy recipes and cooking ideas for Passover! To learn more about the Passover holiday, click here.

Passover Potluck 2013 is generously sponsored by Idaho Potatoes.


I met Irvin Lin from Eat the Love at last year’s BlogHer Food conference in Seattle, and I was immediately struck by his passion for baking and photography. Irvin’s blog is terrific on so many levels– entertaining stories, creative recipes, pretty photography. I was really excited to learn that Irvin grew up in a predominantly Jewish and Asian suburb of St. Louis; in fact, I was surprised at how much he already knew about the Passover food restrictions. He definitely knows what it takes to make a tasty Passover-friendly dessert! When you’re finished looking over this gorgeous swirled cheesecake recipe, head over to Eat the Love for another Passover recipe from Irvin – blood orange and blueberry coconut macaroons! Now THAT is some creative Passover cooking.  ~ Tori

Irvin says:

When Tori approached me to contribute a guest recipe for the Kosher for Passover Potluck I was both honored and excited. There’s a long history of Chinese and Jewish culture entwining together and it’s no exception for me. Growing up in the suburbs of St. Louis, half my friends were Jewish and my classes were practically empty when Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashanah came about. My Jewish friends were always eating Chinese food for Christmas and I know that the pressure from my parents for me to become a doctor, lawyer or engineer was also shared with all my Jewish friends.

But stereotypes aside (I clearly did not become a doctor, lawyer or engineer), baking Kosher for Passover was always something I loved to do. Clearly I couldn’t do it for my most Orthodox of friends, as my kitchen wasn’t Kosher approved, but for those who weren’t as strict, I made chocolate dipped matzo, then graduated to matzo meal chiffon cakes and then to flourless chocolate cakes for Passover. I looked forward to my friends’ Passover dinners (even though I never did find the hidden matzo in all my years that I attended dinners). I especially loved reading from the blue Maxwell House Haggadah. In fact, when my friend Susie had her latest Passover dinner, she had her dad mail her a family Maxwell House Haggadah for me to read, while everyone else read from photocopies. Now that’s friendship!

So when Tori asked me for some ideas of Kosher for Passover recipes, I threw out some ideas and she loved the idea of a cheesecake. My partner is absolutely obsessed with cheesecake so I know that he would approve of me making cheesecake, Kosher for Passover or not. In truth, this recipe is so good, that you will want to make it year round. I know I will.

Passover Lemon Swirled Honey Cheesecake with Pistachio Crust

Passover Lemon Swirled Honey Cheesecake with Pistachio Crust

Lemon Curd Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter

Pistachio Crust Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup shelled pistachio nuts
  • 1/2 cup matzo meal
  • 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake Filling Ingredients

  • 3 8 oz packages Kosher for Passover cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup Kosher for Passover sour cream
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Servings: 12, one 9 inch round cheesecake
Kosher Key: Dairy, Kosher for Passover
  • Make the lemon curd by placing the sugar, lemon zest and salt in a food processor and pulse process until the sugar is uniformly yellow. Pour the lemon sugar in a medium pot and add the lemon juice and eggs. Whisk together and place on the stove over medium-low heat. Add the butter and cook, whisking constantly, until the whisk holds marks as you stir, about 5 to 6 minutes. Pour the curd through a fine mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl and cover with wax paper. Let cool to room temperature as you prep the rest of the cheesecake ingredients.
  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Turn the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan upside down so removal of the cheesecake from the bottom is easy to do. Smear a little softened butter on the bottom of the pan and place a 9-inch parchment paper round at the bottom of the pan. Place on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Make the crust by placing the pistachio nuts, matzo meal, sugar and salt in the food processor (don’t bother cleaning the processor from the lemon sugar). Pulse process until the nuts are finely processed and the entire crust is uniform in color. With the processor on, drizzle the melted butter into the machine. Once all the butter has been added, turn the processor off and dump the wet crumbs into the bottom of the lined 9-inch spring form pan. Using the back of a spoon, press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan (it doesn’t have to go all the way up, just as much as you can).
  • Place the crust in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges of the crust start to brown a bit and smells fragrant. Remove crust from oven and turn the oven down to 300˚F.
  • Make the filling by placing the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the cream cheese and and sugar together on medium speed until fluffy (about a minute or two). Add the honey and beat to incorporate, about 30 seconds on medium speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, waiting for each to incorporate before adding the next one. Add the sour cream, lemon zest and vanilla and beat to incorporate.
  • Carefully spoon 2/3 of the filling into the prebaked crust and spread out evenly on the bottom. Spoon 2/3 of the curd over the filling and swirl with a butter knife. Cover the curd with the remaining cheesecake filling and drizzle the remaining curd over the top of the filling. Marble with a butter knife decoratively.
  • Put the cheesecake in the oven (still on the baking sheet) for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the edges of the cheesecake start to puff up and look solid. The center of the cheesecake will be wobbly but don’t worry, it’ll firm up as it cools. Once the cheesecake is done, turn off the oven, prop the door of the oven open with a wooden spoon, and let the cheesecake cool in the oven for an hour. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for an additional two hours or until the bottom of the cheesecake pan doesn’t feel warm to the touch anymore. Cover the pan with aluminum foil (don’t let it touch the top of the cheesecake!) and refrigerate overnight or at least for 8 hours. Serve from the fridge or let it sit out for about an hour before serving for a slightly less firm texture.
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Category: Baked Goods and Brunch Fare, Dairy, Desserts, In the Kitchen, Passover, Passover - Ashkenazi, Passover - Sephardic, Passover - Vegetarian Ashkenazi, Passover - Vegetarian Sephardic, Recipes, Shavuot, Slide Show, The Shiksa's Passover Potluck, Vegetarian

Comments (14)Post a Comment

  1. Mery says:

    Yum! Can this recipe be made pareve? Will I work with Tofutti non dairy sour cream and non dairy cream cheese?

    • In theory it should work but I’ve never done it before so I can’t guarantee it! But I know vegans who have made cheesecake with tofutti products before so it’s definitely possible. You may want to add a tablespoon or two of potato starch to help bind the batter together if you aren’t using actual cream cheese.

      Of course, if you are avoiding kitniot for Passover you obviously can’t use tofutti products because of the soy. If you are avoiding kitnoit, there are other non dairy cream cheese substitutes out there (I believe Daiya makes a cream cheese style spread that is coconut based and Trader Joe’s has one too). But again, I haven’t made cheesecake with them, so I can’t guarantee what the end result will be. If do you experiment though, please check back and let me know how it turns out!

    • Tori Avey says:

      I continue to be impressed with how much Irvin knows about the kosher laws… you go, Irvin! :)

  2. This looks like such a delight!

  3. Mery says:

    You’re right! I forgot about the soy in Tofutti brand. There is no Trader Joe’s here in Toronto and I have not seen Daiya products. If I can find substitutes, I’ll post the brands. If not, I’ll save this recipe for Shavuot. Thank you for the tips!!!

  4. Kim Beaulieu says:

    Pistachio crust? Irvin will you marry me? I am totally making this. It’s all my faves in one place. Including Irvin and Tori.

  5. Lori Lynn says:

    Hi Irvin – I got sidetracked reading your post, went to search google for vintage hagaddahs, looking for the one we used as when I was growing up. No luck.
    Your cheesecake is gorgeous!
    Happy Passover!
    LL

  6. Rivka says:

    Could I substitute almonds for the pistachios?

    • Irvin says:

      Sorry I didn’t respond earlier! Yes you can substitute pretty much any nuts you wants, but the pistachios not only look pretty (with green is especially vibrant against the yellow cheesecake) but also taste really great with the lemon flavor.

      But almonds would work really well. I hope you had a great Passover.

  7. Shayna says:

    This looks delicious. To make it any other time of the year, would I use graham crumbs instead of matzo meal in the crust?

    • Irvin says:

      Hi Shayna! Yes definitely. You can certainly do a graham cracker crust. Just use 5 oz (about 1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs) instead of the matzo meal and pistachios.

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