About 30 miles from Glens Falls NY is Cambridge, New York, home of the Eastern Orthodox Nuns of New Skete – a monastery famous for their 13 flavors of 4 pound cheesecakes!
The New York Times featured the Nuns of New Skete in a warm article entitled, “Mixing Scripture in the Batter,” enlightening readers to the cheesecake-making business that has given the nuns nationwide acclaim!
According to the Times, the self-supporting nuns and five assistants earn their daily bread by baking one to two days per week, about 200 cheesecakes at a time and then freezing and shipping the decadent desserts. In 2012, they sold over 10,000 cheesecakes through their gift shop, online store, wholesale distribution, and fundraisers.
The nuns’ large commercial kitchen has the facilities to make up to 400 cheesecakes per session, ranging from simple flavors like their deluxe and chocolate cakes, to pumpkin, key lime, and Kahlua (just to name a few)!
Producing food and liquors to barter and sell has been a practice for monastic orders for thousands of years, although today the marketing and selling of these products is quite different. The New York Times states that the Nuns of New Skete have a business manager, marketing director, distributor, and technology expert for their online store (and yes…they have a Facebook page)! They share these resources with the Monks of New Skete in Cambridge NY, who are known for their German shepherd breeding and puppy training books.
What hasn’t changed over thousands of years? Their commitment to God! The Nuns of New Skete pray all day long as they slice huge blocks of cream cheese and crush vanilla cookie crumbs for crusts.
When asked how the idea for selling cheesecakes to remain self-sufficient came about, the nuns told the Times that it began over 35 years ago when an abbot suggested they try a specialty food. Ever since then, the nuns have been using the faithful recipe of Sister Magdalene Oliver, a nun of New Skete that passed away in 2003. The recipe is so delicious in fact, it has been voted “Best Cheesecake in the Tri-Cities Area,” referring to Albany, Schenectady, and Troy, NY.
The nuns are self-sufficient in other ways as well, making many of their own tools, cooking, and packaging equipment in their carpentry shop in Cambridge NY. Helping the Monks of New Skete with their breeding program and using their own talents to create everything from iconography to blueprints for an expansion, have helped them make and save money.
If you live in Glens Falls or Albany NY, visit the nuns of New Skete in Cambridge and treat yourself to a 16-slice sinfully delicious raspberry chocolate cheesecake!
Click here to read the New York Times article in its entirety: “Mixing Scripture into the Batter.”
Already had a slice of heaven? Give us your review of the famous Nuns of New Skete cheesecakes!