This orange blossom cheesecake makes a wonderful dessert with its creamy texture and delicate floral note crowned by sweet figs and crunchy pistachios.
As fig season winds down, I wanted to hang on to my favorite fall fruit just a bit longer. I spent most of last week whipping up figgy desserts from a meringue cake, tart, and cheesecake to ice cream. The meringue cake and tart still need some tweaking but the cheesecake became an instant favorite. Inspired by the pairing of orange blossom and figs, I made an orange blossom cheesecake then topped it with fresh figs and pistachios. This cheesecake gets the tang from a blend of cream cheese and labneh. The orange blossom added a delicate, floral flavor while the fresh figs and pistachios balanced out the creaminess of the cheesecake.
Tips for Making Cheesecake
- Using room temperature cream cheese and eggs is essential. Room temp ingredients blend up smoothly so you don’t have a lumpy cheesecake.
- Add the eggs in last and beat just until combined. The longer you beat the eggs, more air get incorporated and can expand and then contract during baking and cooling resulting in cracks.
- Grease the pan to avoid any batter sticking to the edges and then pulling on the sides of the cheesecake causing it to crack.
- The water bath is essential for the cheesecake to bake gently and evenly.
- Baked the cheesecake one on the rack lower than the middle rack so it's far enough away from the heat to prevent major cracks.
- Orange blossom: orange blossom water is one of those special ingredients that I enjoy baking with. It reminds me of the grapefruit blossoms that I grew up with. Orange blossom water is frequently used in Middle Eastern cooking. You'll find it well stocked in Middle Eastern grocery stores. I love orange blossom water and used 1.5 tablespoons in this cheesecake recipe but feel free to decrease it to 1 tablespoon if you’re using it for the first time.
- Labneh: made from yogurt, labneh is a common Middle Eastern ingredient. Labneh results when the whey gets strained out of yogurt, becoming a thick, creamy, cheeselike substance that can be used as a dip, spread, or stir-in ingredient. If you can't find labneh, substitute with creme fraiche or sour cream.
- Figs: I used fresh tiger figs for this recipe but feel free to use your favorite figs.
- Graham crackers: the graham cracker crust is a classic base for this cheesecake but you can also make it with biscoff cookies.
How to Make the Crust
This orange blossom cheesecake used only two ingredients, ground Graham cracker crust and melted butter. Combine melted butter and ground Graham cracker then press it in the pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.
How to Make the Filling
- To make the filling, in a bowl of stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy.
- Add the labneh, heavy cream, orange blossom, and salt and beat until incorporated.
- Mix in the eggs one at a time. Beat the egg just until combined into the batter before adding the next one.
- Pour the batter over the cooled crust.
- Make sure you wrap the cheesecake well with foil up to 3 inches all around the pan so there are no leaks. Or you can also place the springform pan in a larger cake pan if you want it completely leak proof.
- To make the water bath without having to juggle a large pan full of water, place the cheesecake in the roasting pan in the oven, then add the water. Fill with hot water to come roughly halfway up the sides.
How Long to Bake the Cheesecake
Bake for 60 minutes at 350 degrees F, until the edges are set but there is still a slight jiggle in the middle. Turn off the oven, and leave to cool inside it for about 30 minutes with the door ajar. Remove the orange blossom cheesecake from oven and water bath. Place it on a cooling rack and allow it to come to room temperature.
How Long to Let the Cheesecake Set
Once cool, chill in the fridge for at least 6-8 hours, or overnight. This step is crucial for letting the cheesecake set and and the flavor to develop.
What to Serve Cheesecake With
Take the orange blossom cheesecake out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you plan to serve. Unmold and top the cheesecake with fresh figs, chopped pistachios, and an orange blossom syrup. I made a simple orange blossom syrup with water, honey, and orange blossom water.
Make Ahead and Storage
You can make this orange blossom cheesecake 2 days in advance but leave it undecorated until ready to serve. The baked and chilled cheesecake will keep for up to 5 days covered tightly with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator or freeze up to 1 month.
For more orange blossom inspiration:
- Orange blossom panna cotta with figs and honeycomb
- Orange blossom fig friands
- Fig pavlova with orange blossom cream
Orange Blossom Cheesecake With Fresh Figs and Pistachios
- 9-inch springform pan
- 8 ounces ground Graham crackers
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 ½ pounds cream cheese, room temp
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream, room temp
- 1 cup labneh, room temp
- 1 ½ tablespoons orange blossom water
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 pound fresh figs, quartered
- 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
- 2 tablespoons orange blossom honey
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
- 1 tablespoon water
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan with parchment paper and secure springform pan ring around bottom. Grease the sides of pan with butter or cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine melted butter and Graham cookies. Use a spoon to mix until everything comes together.
- Tip mixture into the base of the lined pan, pressing down firmly, then bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- To make the filling beat cream cheese and sugar on medium-low speed in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides and bottom of bowl as needed.
- Add heavy cream, labneh, orange blossom water, and salt and beat on low speed until combined, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
- Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix until just combined, about 2 minutes. Stop and scrape down sides of bowl, and beat on low speed until batter is smooth, about 1 minute.
- Wrap the pan tightly in two layers of strong tinfoil, making sure it comes up the sides of the tin.
- Place springform pan in a large roasting pan. Place roasting pan in oven on the rack lower than the middle rack, and carefully pour hot water into roasting pan until water level reaches halfway up sides of springform pan.
- Bake for 60 minutes, until the edges are set but there is still a slight jiggle in the middle. Turn off the oven, and leave to cool inside it for about an 30 minutes with the door ajar. Remove cheesecake and let it cool for an hour.
- Once cool, chill in the cheesecake in fridge for at least 6-8 hours, or overnight.
- To make the syrup, in a small saucepan, combine orange blossom honey, orange blossom water, and water. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Set aside.
- When ready to serve run a knife around edges of cheesecake in springform pan. Remove springform pan ring from cheesecake; remove parchment paper and bottom of springform pan. Transfer cheesecake to a serving platter.
- Garnish cheesecake with fresh figs and pistachios. Drizzle orange blossom syrup over cheesecake. Slice and serve.
- Wrap cheesecake with plastic wrap, or place in an airtight container; store in refrigerator for up to 5 days or in freezer for up to 1 month.