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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.

Nutritional Facts
Calories Per Serving430
Total Fat28g43%
Vitamin A251µg28%
Vitamin B120.3µg11.7%
Vitamin C0.8mg0.9%
Vitamin D0.6µg3.8%
Vitamin E0.7mg4.6%
Vitamin K2µg2%
Folate (food)16µgN/A
Folate equivalent (total)16µg4%
Niacin (B3)0.4mg2.6%
Riboflavin (B2)0.1mg9.5%
Sugars, added14gN/A