Recipes for a Sweet Shavuot

Shavuot is not a typical Jewish holiday — it doesn’t celebrate a miracle or ancient military victory and it didn’t originate as a way to commemorate an historical event. The holiday menu also stands out: It’s the only holiday that’s customarily celebrated with a dairy meal instead of a meat one. Though, the original holiday menus were wheat-based, and the tradition of serving dairy may have started as a way to differentiate Shavuot from other wheat harvest holidays in the region. 

Chazal (​​the collective body of Jewish sages and scholars from the Mishnaic and Talmudic periods), perhaps in an attempt to imbue this agricultural holiday with more significance in the Diaspora, associated Shavuot with the giving of the Torah. According to the Torah itself, this happened in the Hebrew month of Sivan, but the exact date is not mentioned. Today, we celebrate it on the 6th of Sivan. 

In the Middle Ages, Jews in France began celebrating the holiday with dairy-rich foods inspired by the verse: “Like honey and milk, it lies under your tongue” (Song of Songs 4:11). Chazal understood this image as referring to the Torah, the teachings of which are as sweet as milk and honey.

In this collection, you will find our favorite Shavuot recipes including a no-bake icebox cake, a burnished cheesecake, cheese sambusak, Sephardi calsones (cheese ravioli), Kurdish cheese-filled bread, an easy egg and cheese casserole, and more.

Lemon Angel Hair Pasta

Fettuccine cacio e pepe in a large bowl with a plate of parmesan cheese next to it

Cottage Cheese and Noodles á la Cacio e Pepe

Bowls of rice pudding topped with pistachios.

Rice pudding

Kurdish stuffed hand pies are served on a white ceramic platter next to bowls of olives and yogurt sauce

Kurdish Kadeh and Zijik

Fish shishbarak (dumplings) in yogurt sauce

Fish Shishbarak in Yogurt

Whole roasted fish stuffed with herbs served on blue plate with yogurt sauce

Stuffed Fish with Warm Yogurt Sauce

Cream Puffs for the late David Kachko Katzir

Cream Puffs

Vegetarian quiche in a ceramic baking dish atop a colorful tablecloth

Leek and Cheese Quiche

Bavarian cream in vintage sundae glasses

Bavarian Cream With Caramel & Meringue