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Tuesday 20 May 2014

Sluttishly Sweet: Rose & Almond Cheesecake

Here's a prepare-ahead dessert for those days when it's just too hot to even contemplate using the oven. It's light, fragrant and perfect post BBQ: the long chilling time also means more time lounging outside, ignoring your frisbee in the park.

Some people love it, some people hate it, but here at DSHQ we have a long tradition of putting flowers in our food. Whether it's out Rose Petal Masala, our luscious lavender cake or our orange blossom polenta cake, we love a floral note (mostly) and here's one paired with North African-inspired almonds, honey and tahini.

Rose & Almond Cheesecake
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Chilling time: 4 hours +
You will need:
For the base:
  • 150g digestive biscuits
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 4 tbsp tahini
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
For the rose syrup:
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp dried rose petals (if you can't find any use 1 tsp rose water: I found them in my local health food shop though)
  • 5 tbsp water
For the topping:
  • 500g greek yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 2 tsp orange blossom water (or rose extract - to taste)
  • 2 tbsp honey
To decorate:
  • Handful flaked almonds 
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar 
  • Scattering rose petals
Make it!
The base:
  1. Lightly grease the base of a 23cm, spring form tin and line the bottom with a circle of baking parchment.
  2. Place the biscuits and almonds together in a zip-lock bag, seal and bash about a bit with something heavy (a rolling pin / spoon / your shoe) until they are broken into pieces. I like to leave a few larger bits in there, for texture. 
  3. Tip into a mixing bowl and add the tahini and melted butter. Stir together well until combined. 
  4. Spoon the mixture into the tin, pressing down firmly and to the edges into an even layer.
  5. Cover and place in the fridge. 
The rose syrup:
  1. Put the caster sugar, rose petals or extract and water in a small saucepan and swirl together.
  2. Place over a medium heat and simmer gently until the liquid is reduced by half: about 7-8 minutes. 
  3. Remove from the heat and set aside.
The topping:
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the yoghurt, cream cheese, orange blossom water and honey until combined.
  2. Stir in the rose syrup. 
  3. Pour onto the chilled base, smoothing over the top.
  4. Cover and place in the fridge for at least four hours - it will need this long to set. 
  5. When ready to serve, place the handful of flaked almonds in a small, dry saucepan and set over a medium heat. Toast for 3-4 minutes (watch them carefully) tossing frequently until golden brown. Tip onto a plate to cool. 
  6. To decorate, gently remove from the tin and sift 1 tbsp icing sugar over the surface, followed by a sprinkling of rose petals and the almonds.

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