I’ve heard about Eli’s Cheesecake for years, and not because I live in Chicago. When I knew Shavout was coming up I thought it would be the perfect time to see if I could get an interview with Marc Schulman, President of Eli’s Cheesecake. It turned into a great conversation with Marc, learning more about this company and their cheesecakes. I even had the opportunity to talk with Maureen, his wife and co-creator of their amazing cookbook: Eli’s Cheesecake Cookbook- Remarkable Recipes from a Chicago Legend. Warning: you might want to have some cheesecake handy, it will be difficult to listen to the episode and not have some at the ready … just saying.
Check out the giant cheesecake below- it was made in Chicago and traveled all the way to Washington DC for President Obama’s Inauguration in 2013.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the "S" blade, grind the almonds, sugar, and salt. Process until the mixture becomes moist and crumbly.
Add the melted butter and process again until thoroughly combined.
Grease the pan(s). Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan(s).
To set the crust, bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the stand mixer bowl to prevent lumps from forming.
Add half of the sweetened condensed milk to the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the stand mixer bowl and continue beating on low speed for 1 minute more, until the mixture is smooth and creamy and free of lumps. Repeat this step with the remaining sweetened condensed milk.
Reduce the mixer speed to low. Slowly add first the whole egg and then the egg yolks to the bowl, one at a time. After adding each, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Continue beating on low speed for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture is fully incorporated.
Add the vanilla to the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on low speed for 1 minute, until the vanilla is jus incorporated into the mixture. The mixture should be well blended , but not over-beaten.
In a heavy 2-quart sauce pan over medium heat, combine the corn syrup, water, and salt. Stir with a spatula and cook for 1 minute, until the salt is dissolved and the corn syrup has melted.
Sprinkle the sugar into the saucepan, taking care to cover the bottom of the saucepan as evenly as possible. Do NOT stir. Cook, using a pastry brush dipped in water to lightly wash down the sides of the pot, for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture begins to caramelize. (Brushing the sides of the pan prevents the formation of sugar crystals.)
Once the mixture becomes a light amber color, immediately remove from the heat and add the warmed heavy cream to the saucepan. Stir with a heatproof rubber spatula scraping the sides and bottom of the pot and making sure to fully incorporate the cream into the caramel, until the mixture is fully combined.Note: Be careful at this stage, as the caramel is extremely hot and the cream will bubble up and release very hot steam.
Transfer the caramel to a medium heatproof bowl. Set aside to cool to room temperature for 30 minutes; the caramel will thicken as it cools.
Cheesecake overall Instructions
Prepare the Toasted Almond Crust in a 9-inch springform pan. Follow the recipe as directed.
Prepare the Flan bater. Follow the recipe as directed.
Preheat the oven to 280 degrees F. Generously grease and flour the springform pan. Fill the springform pan with the Flan batter and place it on a baking sheet.
Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven, directly on the middle shelf. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cake is slightly firm to the touch and jiggles in the center (this is a shallow cake so it shouldn't soufflé much.) If a the end of the baking time, the cake is starting to soufflé but still has a loose center, reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees F and bake for another 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.
Refrigerate for 1 hour to cool the cake completely.
Loosen the cheesecake from the springform pan by sliding an offset spatula around the inside ring. Remove the springform pan from the cake and transfer to a plate. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight before decorating.
Prepare the Salted Caramel. Set aside while still warm, but not hot.
Pour the Salted Caramel on the center of the cake. Using the back of a wooden spoon or a silicone offset spatual, spread the caramel evenly over the top of the cake, being careful to to spread over the cake's edge.
While the caramel is still warm, press the toasted almonds into it. Work quickly! As caramel cools, it becomes less sticky and decorations do not adhere as well. Sprinkle with the sea salt crystals.
Transfer to the freezer for 2-3 hours before slicing.
Slice the cake with a thin, non-serrated knife that is dipped in hot water and wiped dry after each slice. Serve immediately or store in the freezer well wrapped for up to 3 months.Eli's Trading Secret: Toasting the almonds in this recipe at a low temperature for a long time produces a deeper, richer flavor.
This incredible cheesecake recipe might seem a bit complicated but in the end – totally worth it! Be sure to read over all the instructions before you begin. For those used to making cheesecakes you’ll see the procedure is a bit out of the ordinary which is what makes Eli’s Cheesecakes so special.
Passover is here and what better way to get into the season of matzo than time to talk with writer and cookbook author, chef and inventor of Matzo Crack, Marcy Goldman! Marcy is my first Big Schmearguest from Canada. We had a great time talking about Jewish food in Montreal and of course learning more about Marcy and her new cookbook: The Newish Jewish Cookbook. Be sure to listen to the end of the episode so you can hear about the many things Marcy does that are food related (she has a lot more cookbooks you’ll want to check out) and some other interests she has that you might find quite interesting. I love discovering new people with a passion for Jewish food and it’s great fun to share it with all of you.
Lay out a large sheet of wax or parchment paper to work on.Put the prepared chicken strips on one side of this work surface, then a shallow bowl with the potato starch in it.In a larger bowl, mix the matzo meal, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder together and have this nearby. In a medium bowl, prepare the eggs (beating just to blend as the egg coating). What is required is an assembly line to work with the chicken, potato starch, eggs, and last the seasoned matzo meal.Dust the chicken strips lightly with salt & pepper. Dredge the strips lightly and shake off in the potato starch. Then lower the chicken strips into the beaten eggs, then dip and press in seasoned matzo meal. Using a large skillet, heat oil (up to 1/4 of sides) to 350 F. Fry a few pieces of chicken at a time, turning once, until well browned on each side - adjust heat as required. Drain well. Serve warm or cold.
Here’s what Marcy has to say about this great Passover dish: Don’t you love when a substitution become better than your original method or ingredients? Matzo meal makes a terrific coating mix for chicken cutlets (or turkey fillets or fish). Together with the potato starch( Instead of flour as one would usually use when it’s not Passover) this coating results in crunchy, golden chicken cutlets or fillets that are as good as a snack or appetizer as they are a main dish.
Whenever I’m in the Boston area to visit with family one of my new favorite restaurant stops is Mamaleh’s Deli in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I made a promise to myself after my visit in December that whenever my next trip to Boston would take place I would find a way to be more than a diner at Mamahleh’s. My goal was to manage to get an interview with one of the co-owners so I could get the inside story on this wonderful place. I managed to do just that in March. I had the opportunity to talk with Alon Munzer and it was great fun. Alon was generous with his time and was a wonderful host and even better we had a great conversation about Mamaleh’s. I hope you enjoy the episode and if you get a chance to stop in let them know you heard about their deli from The Big Schmear! I also encourage you to try out his family recipe for Chopped Liver.
Clean livers, always making sure to keep them cold. Toss with schmaltz (or canola oil) and salt & pepper. Sauté until just barely cooked through (a little bit pink in the center) remove and cool in refrigerator. 2) Cook onions in same pan, caramelize them until soft. (A little burnt edges are encouraged by Alon) 3) Once onions and livers are cold mix together and run through a meat grinder (or hand chop until desired consistency) mix in mayo and salt & pepper until proper taste and texture. Eat with challah, bagel chips or crackers.
If you are a fan of chopped liver in any way — you have to try this recipe. Alon and I talked about the importance of the putting together a deli menu. It’s clear that you need to consider the choices that are always available and those that come and go depending on the Jewish holiday celebration calendar. I asked him what some of the first items were that appeared on the menu and he said that it was important to him to include something from his own family background to the restaurant. We felt it only made sense to include that recipe here for you to try. It’s the chopped liver recipe that originated with his grandmother, Shoshana Munzer (Sapta). So that tells you a few things – it is a family traditional food, it was made with love and it’s withstood the test of time and flavor – so give it a try. And a big thank you to Alon for sharing his story and this recipe. Please let me know what you think.