Saffron Cardamom Cottage Cheesecake with a Millionaire Crust by Jasmine Hemsley | East by West
A sensation for the senses, Jasmine Hemsley’s Saffron Cardamon Cheesecake recipe from her East by West cookbook is perfect for any occasion. Incorporating the Indian spices of cardamom and saffron, it is beautifully rich and full in flavour. Best enjoyed in small slices – with plenty of gratitude and mindfulness.
“With a crunchy base and a sweet creamy topping, this is about as East by West as it gets! The earliest incarnation of a cheesecake is said to date back to ancient Greece. I like a German-style cheesecake, oven-baked and not too sweet”
4 medium eggs, separated.
100g light jaggery, finely chopped.
400g full-fat cottage cheese or homemade paneer (recipe available in East by West)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Generous pinch of sea salt
Seeds of 12 cardamom pods, ground
One large pinch of saffron strands, infused in
1 tbsp very hot water
Edible flowers, to serve (optional)
For the millionaire crust:
150g gram flour
Seeds of 6 cardamom pods, ground
100g jaggery, finely chopped, or coconut sugar
100g ghee or butter, plus extra for greasing
pinch of sea salt
Grease and line an 18cm (7in) springform tin with baking parchment.
To make the gram shortbread, toast the gram flour for 15 minutes in a dry heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat, stirring frequently to ensure even toasting and to keep flour from burning. At the end of this process the flour should be fragrant and a few shades darker.
Stir in the cardamom, jaggery, ghee and salt, stirring constantly to ensure that the ghee and jaggery melt and the mixture is as lump-free as possible. It will be liquid-like at first, but keep cooking for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is thick and smooth. Ghee is absorbed quickly and jaggery doesn’t melt as easily, so you won’t get a thick, smooth mixture but this is fine as long as it’s well combined.
Spread the mixture into the tin and press it down evenly using the back of a metal spoon. Let the mixture cool for about an hour in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 170oC (150oC fan/gas mark 3). To make the filling, place the egg yolks and jaggery in a food processor and blend for about 2 minutes until pale and well combined. Add the cottage cheese, vanilla, salt, cardamom and saffron mixture and blend again until completely smooth.
Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks and gently fold them into the mixture in four stages, using a metal spoon.
Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour 15 minutes until golden and just set. Loosely cover the cheesecake with baking parchment for the last 30 minutes if it’s turning very dark. Remove and leave to cool to room temperature. The base is a little crumbly but beautiful. Decorate with flowers, if desired, and serve.