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Judith’s Cheese Pastries

A Hanukkah treat you can chill overnight
Judith's cheese pastries
Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune; Mark Graham / food styling

Hanukkah may best be known for fried foods. However, there's another Hanukkah story about a woman named Judith who saved the Jews from a death order thanks in part to some amazing cheese cakes. 

This recipe by Marcy Goldman and adapted by Peggy Wolff appeared in the Chicago Tribune.

Ready in
12 h 20 m
1 h 45 m
(prepare time)
10 h 35 m
(cook time)
Calories Per Serving


For the cheese pastry dough

  • 2 1/2 Cups flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 Cup sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
  • 1 Cup farmer cheese
  • 2 Teaspoons finely minced lemon zest
  • 1 Teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling and toppings

  • 1/2 Pound cream cheese
  • 1/2 Pound farmer cheese
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 Teaspoon finely minced lemon zest
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 Tablespoons melted butter
  • Powdered sugar


For the cheese pastry dough

For the dough, sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl; cut in the butter until the mixture resembles small crumbs.

Blend in the farmer cheese to make a soft dough; then the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla.

(For a food processor, pulse the dry ingredients together until combined. Add the butter; pulse until mixture resembles small crumbs. Add remaining ingredients; pulse until dough comes together. Knead on a lightly floured board to form a smooth ball.)

Wrap the dough in plastic, and refrigerate overnight.

For the filling and toppings

For the filling, cream the cream cheese, farmer cheese and sugar together in a bowl until blended.

Stir in flour, finely minced lemon zest, egg, vanilla extract and pinch of salt  to make a thick filling. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, divide the chilled dough in half and roll each half into a 9-by-12 inch rectangle.

Lightly brush each rectangle with 1 tablespoon melted butter.

Spread half of the cheese filling on each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch plain border all around.

Fold in the 2 shorter ends on each rectangle.

Beginning with the longer side, roll each piece into a log but stop halfway.

Cut off the remaining half of each piece and repeat, making another log.

Each portion of dough will make 2 narrow logs.

Brush the tops of the 4 logs with the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter.

Chill, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove logs from the fridge; cut them into 2-inch pastries.

Place the pastries on the baking sheets.

Bake until tops are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

Cool slightly, then dust with powdered sugar.