When it comes to food, the Rousso household is known for many things – larger-than-life omelets, over-the-top appetizer orders, and big family dinners, to name a few. In this family, food and festivity are synonymous. Every holiday brings its own batch of recipes to look forward to, and every favorite dish is doted upon with a mini celebration of its own, holiday or not.That notion still stands comes springtime, when Passover seder signals an unleavened week of eating to follow. Most Jewish families anticipate a week of limited menus. The Roussos look forward to Nancy's Passover cheesecake.The secret is making the right Passover-friendly crust that lets her cheesecake flavors shine. Over the past decade she's tested the lot. Mashed macaroons? Too mushy. The key? Kosher-for-Passover cookies that are still firm, like Manischewitz chocolate chip cookies, crumbled. With the cookie crust conquered, the flavor possibilities are nearly endless. Nancy has her own go-tos – some years it's caramel, others white chocolate – but bakers observing Passover can make any cheesecake recipe they'd like on top of her creative crust. She shared with us her classic Passover Cheesecake for starters. Just be sure to buy the highly sought-after Manischewitz cookies in advance.Serve alongside Salted Chocolate Matzo Toffee or Passover Brownies for a dessert table that will keep seder guests coming back for more. 

By Nancy Rousso, Birmingham, Alabama


Credit: Katie Rousso

Recipe Summary test

20 mins
10 hrs 20 mins




Instructions Checklist
  • Make the Crust: Grind Kosher for Passover cookies in a food processer to create crumbs. Place cookie crumbs in a bowl and pour melted butter over crumbs, mixing well with a fork. Press mixture into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. Freeze for 30 minutes.

  • Make the Cheesecake: Beat cream cheese and sugar at medium-low speed with an eclectic mixer until soft and fluffy (about 1 minute). Mix in vanilla and salt. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed just until incorporated. Take springform pan from freezer. Pour cheesecake mixture on top of crust in springform pan.

  • Bake at 325 for an hour. Turn off oven. Leave cheesecake inside while oven cools (about 2 hours) to avoid cake cracks. Chill overnight or at least 8 hours. 

  • Make Whipped Cream: Place metal whisk into the freezer for 15 minutes before using. With a hand mixer, whip whipping cream and powdered sugar on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and check the consistency of the whipped cream as you go, if needed.

  • Decorate with whipped cream and strawberries before serving.

Chef's Notes

Be sure to use full fat cream cheese for correct consistency. 

Equipment Option: Substitute springform pan for a silicone mold, like a Bon Cook Large Round Flexipan Mold. Reduce baking temperature when using.