Thick creamy yoghurt, mixed with honey and infused with saffron and cardamom, is layered on a crunchy date and nut base, topped with fresh blended mango. This cheesecake is based on my grandmother’s homemade Shrikhand, one of those deliciously creamy desserts I’d always look forward to as a child. Here, I’ve decided to add a layer and make a cheesecake using those same flavours. Since it is made with yoghurt, it takes longer to set. It is therefore ideal to make it two days in advance of serving, or at least the day before.
For the base
100g (3.oz/ ¾ cup) almonds
40g (1.oz/ 1/3 cup) walnuts
150g (5oz/1 cup) pitted dates, preferably Medjool
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon almond butter
For the yoghurt layer
500g (17½oz/2 cups) thick Greek yoghurt
180g (6oz) cream cheese
4 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
pinch (less than ¼ teaspoon) Spice Kitchen saffron
½ teaspoon Spice Kitchen ground cardamom
For the topping
1 large or 2 small mangoes
Start with the yoghurt layer. Place the Greek yoghurt in a muslin (cheesecloth) set over a bowl and leave to strain for at least an hour or ideally overnight (place in the fridge if overnight).
To make the base, blend the almonds and walnuts in a high-speed food processor for a few seconds, then add the dates, coconut oil and almond butter and blend until the nuts are well crushed and the mixture has become quite smooth. If there are a few pieces of nuts and dates, this is fine – it will give the cheesecake a lovely crunch.
Press the base layer into a 20 centimetre (8 inch) loose-bottomed tin and leave to set in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
Place the strained Greek yoghurt, cream cheese, honey, saffron and ground cardamom in a large bowl and mix together thoroughly, then spread this mix evenly over the base layer. Leave to set in the fridge overnight or for up to 2 days.
To make the topping, peel and de-stone the mango(es), then place in a blender or food processor. Blend the mango until smooth, then pour over the top of the cheesecake. Leave in the fridge for at least a few hours so the mango sets, then remove from the tin.
Serve as it is, or this also looks lovely topped with toasted pistachios and a mint leaf.
Recipe extracted from Saffron Soul by Mira Manek published by Jacqui Small, an imprint of The Quarto Group