Traditionally for Shavuot we decorate with flowers and eat dairy. Some families eat a completely dairy meal and others will eat a dairy meal, clear off the table and reset for a meat meal. Again, Aish.com gives 7 different reasons why we celebrate this custom in their informative article. I like reason number two which states, “Torah is likened to milk, as the verse says, “Like honey and milk [the Torah] lies under your tongue” (Song of Songs 4:11). Just as milk has the ability to fully sustain the body of a human being (i.e. a nursing baby), so too the Torah provides all the “spiritual nourishment” necessary for the human soul.”
Here are a few delicious and creative sweet cheesecakes that would be showstoppers at your Shavuot meal.
The Classic: New York Cheesecake with Strawberries
The Exotic: Individual Keylime Cheesecake with Mango
The “Two-For-One”: Hot Fudge Cheesecake with Brownie Crust
The Gourmet: Nectarine, Mascarpone + Gingersnap Tart
The Snack Option: Salted Caramel Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust
The No-Bake-Snack Option: Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries
Last but not least… The Stay-Up-All-Night: Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake
It is customary for the holiday of Shavuot that we decorate our homes, Synagogue and Torah scroll in flowers. Aish.com has a great article on the reason why we eat dairy foods and decorate with flowers stating that this tradition comes from a Midrash where the foot of Mount Sinai was covered in flowers while we were awaiting the receiving of the Torah. My family always grew flowers in our garden which were edible. It was always a funny prank to invite friends over, pull some off of the plant and stuff them into my mouth. Flowers are a beautiful way to garnish and add subtle flavor to salads, side dishes, desserts, basically anything!
Here is a list from GoodHouseKeeping.com which lists a few edible flowers and their flavor profiles:
- Arugula Flowers: Peppery flavor, just like arugula leaves. Use in salads or other savory dishes. (Recipe below.)
- Chive Blossoms: Delicate oniony flavor. Use whole flowers or separate the individual petals.
- Hibiscus: Tart and sweet. Often used in teas, cocktails and salads.
- Jasmine: Very sweet, floral fragrance and flavor. Use in teas or desserts.
- Johnny-Jump-Ups: Minty, almost bubblegum-y flavor. Serve on cakes or with soft mild cheese, like goat cheese. (Recipe below.)
- Lavender: Floral flavor that’s perfume-y and faintly citrusy. Use in cocktails, teas, desserts or other baked goods.
- Lemon Verbena: Light lemon flavor that’s well suited for sweet or savory cooking.
- Marigold: Faint citrus flavor. Try it in a salad.
- Nasturtiums: Peppery flavor and golden hue. Try them on crostini with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Pansies: Use these as garnish—they’re so pretty! Faint grassy flavor.
- Squash Blossoms: Mild raw squash taste. Usually cooked before eaten. Lightly dust with cornstarch and deep fry.
- Violets: Sweet and floral. Use in dessert or freeze into ice cubes for decorative drinking!
Here are some beautiful examples and recipes to try and make your own house and meal filled with floral blossoms.
Johnny-Jump-Up Angel Food Cake with Sour Cream Glaze : Recipe Here
Vanilla Cupcakes with Edible Flowers
Savory Open Faced Smoked Salmon Sandwiches
Stuffed Squash Blossoms
Beautiful Blossom Popsicles
Pansy Shortbread Cookies
Nasturtium and Baby Greens Salad