When it is hot outside, no one wants to be overheating as they slave away at a stove! I personally want to do as little cooking as possible and will opt for cool and refreshing salads and desserts. Saffron cheesecake is ideal for any day you want to indulge but with minimal effort. This creamy, mousse-like no-bake cheesecake is perfect to satisfy your sweet tooth without having to turn on the oven!
Saffron is one of those exotic ingredients that is used across the Middle East, but that many outside of the Middle East associate with savoury dishes, like saleeg or Persian rice dishes. It comes from the crocus flower, and it has a floral and earthy flavour, so it makes sense that many Middle Eastern desserts use saffron, like qirs agaili, kulfi ice cream, and many others. If you have some saffron in your spice cupboard and don't know what to do with it, this is a delicious and quick way to use it up.
Most of these ingredients are easy to find and often available at home, but for the saffron, you want to make sure you have good quality saffron otherwise it may be bitter or tasteless. Infusing the saffron is super easy, you just want to heat it up with some of the heavy cream and leave it to cool and you'll have a great-tasting base for your cream layer. You could always use a bit more or less depending on your personal taste. Slightly crushing or cruising the saffron will help release its flavours. The other half of your heavy cream should remain in the fridge until it is ready to be used because cold cream whips up nicely.
I like to serve this dessert in cups, that way everyone has their own portion, but feel free to make this in a springform pan. Once you're ready to serve it, garnish with some crushed pistachios to add a lovely texture and flavour. The earthiness of the saffron along with the aromatic cardamom and silky cream cheese will make the perfect bite! Enjoy this on a hot summer's day and get ready to fall in love!
200 g digestive biscuits, crushed
2-3 tsp ground cardamom
100 g butter, melted
7-10 strands saffron, crushed
260 ml heavy cream, separated in half
300 g cream cheese, room temperature
1.5 tsp lemon juice
3-4 tbsp icing sugar, to taste
Crushed pistachios to garnish
- In a small pot, place half of the heavy cream (130ml) along with the saffron, leave the other half in the fridge until ready to use. Place the pan on low heat for a few minutes, until the cream begins to bubble. Remove from heat and set aside to infuse and cool in the fridge.
- To make the base, mix the digestive biscuits with cardamom and butter. Place in dessert cups or a small round springform cake pan. Set aside.
- To make the cheese layer, place the cream cheese, lemon juice and icing sugar in a stand mixer, or use a hand mixer or whisk, and whisk the cream cheese mix until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the cream infused with saffron and whisk on medium speed. Slowly add in the rest of the heavy cream, and whisk. Taste the sugar level and once you are happy with it, whisk on medium speed until light and fluffy. Make sure not to overmix or it will separate.
- Spoon the cream mixture over the biscuit base and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
- Garnish with pistachios before serving and enjoy!
MORE RECIPE: Shish tawouk