Rosewater and sour cherry cheesecake

I don't know why I've never made cheesecakes before. I'm sure you'll agree that the combination of tangy cream cheese, sour fruits and a rich biscuit base create nothing less than a symphony in the mouth. On my recent trip back to Auckland, I was pleasantly surprised by the new bakeries and cafes that have popped up around town. One that I have been raving about to everyone I've met ever since is "Little Bird Organics" on New North Road. They like to call themselves an "unbakery" because not only is everything in the cafe organic, it is also completely raw! I have to be honest, at the beginning, I was a little cynical. Just how can you have a raw bakery? Even the concept is oxymoronic! So of course I made the trip out to Kingsland to taste test their creations and feed my curiosity. I purchased some delicious coconut macaroons, some organic white tea and a raspberry mini cheesecake. The mini cake was the triumph of the day as it reminded me of how simple and delicious cheesecakes can be. The experience has been playing so much in my mind ever since, that I knew I had to try to make my own when I got back to Paris. 

I then remembered that Natalie Smith had asked me to base a cake on another object after I had done the "candle cake" for Curio Noir for the Simon James Design blog. My muse this time is the bow ring by London-based fine jewelry designer Jessica McCormack. I tried to think about the kind of flavors that can be associated with diamond rings, and couldn't really come up with anything that wasn't so farfetched. So I did a little research and found out that these bow rings were inspired by the 1983 collection by French fashion house YSL. 

The dresses featured huge pink bows which combined playful femininity and classic symbolism. So from this, a flavor profile slowly started to come together.

I knew I wanted to use rosewater to symbolize the classic and romantic nuances of the ring's design. I paired it with a compote of French sour cherries "Griottines" - a very traditional french ingredient, which will emphasize the origins of the ring's muse YSL. For the base, I used girly pink ladyfinger biscuits from "Massion Fossier" called "Biscuits Roses de Reims" which I ground up into a fine powder. I moulded the whole thing in an adorable bow-shaped PVC cake mould. For the decoration, I went with a simple rose petal and a sugar diamond to give it a bit of regal quality. 

Mini cheesecakes and mini "Biscuits Roses de Reims"

I think this cake would be perfect served in a wedding banquet, especially if the bride herself was wearing the ring that the cake is based on. Don't you think it'd be a great idea for the guests to be able to experience the piece of jewelry that holds a special significance to the happy couple? I think I may be onto something here.

So here's the recipe. You can use any cake moulds for this cheesecake. This recipe will make 6 mini cakes or a 6 or 7 inch round cake.

Rosewater and Sour Cherry Cheesecakes

Sour cherry (griottines) compote
300 g fresh/frozen cherries
45 g sugar
a squeeze of lemon juice
1.5 sheets gelatin - soaked in cold water and drained

Cut the cherries into quarters

Place into a saucepan, add sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice
Bring to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes until cherries are soft and half of the liquid has evaporated

Take off heat, add soaked gelatin leaves and stir to combine
Pour into a clean bowl, cover with cling wrap in contact

Place in the fridge to cool completely

Rosewater filling
150 g regular cream cheese
90 g heavy cream
15 ml rosewater
25 g caster sugar
1.5 leaves gelatin - soaked in cold water and drained
20 ml boiling water

Place softened gelatin leaves in a bowl and pour in the boiling water, leave to cool slightly
In a food processor, mix cream cheese, sugar and rosewater well until the sugar is dissolved

Add in the gelatin mixture and whizz again until well combined
Whip up heavy cream with a whisk or a hand mixer until slightly thickened
Add in the cream cheese mixture and whisk until combined

Biscuit base
100 g "Biscuits Roses de Reims" - (can also use lady finger biscuits)
50 g unsalted butter - melted

Process biscuits into fine crumbs
Add in melted butter and work into the crumbs evenly with a spatula

Melted white chocolate

Place rosewater filling into a piping bag, cut off the tip
Pipe mixture into moulds, tap moulds onto the counter to flatten out the mixture

Place in the fridge for an hour to set the gelatin
Spoon on a thin layer of sour cherry compote, place back in the fridge to set

Using a small offset spatula or a spoon, press on the biscuit crumbs to the top of the mould

Cover with a thin layer of white chocolate so keep the biscuit crumbs together

Place in the freezer to freeze completely before unmoulding
Decorate with rose petals and sugar diamonds
To be served cool, not frozen!

Well that's it!

Time to visit my lucky neighbour!

x Tal


  1. Anonymous11.10.12

    TALITA!! That looks amazing!
    HHMMmmm.. I'm very envious of this lucky neighbour of yours...
    Reading your blogs makes me guilty for not updating mine..
    Keep up the 'magnifique' work! xxx

  2. Talita, I love that recipe!! Where did you get the lovely moulds from,please??

    1. Voila! http://www.pcb-creation.com/en/moules-entremets-individuels/853-3-sheets-of-6-moulds-entremets-noeud.html have fun with it :)

  3. Hi Talita, this looks amazing - I'm going to try it in a Millenium Falcon mould: http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/f16b/images/17008/.

    On another note, what is the conversion for gelatin sheets or leafs into powdered gelatin? Many thanks.

    1. Wow! Such an amazing mould. I love it!! The conversion I use is 1 gelatin leaf = 2g powder. Hope that helps!

  4. How long do you leave them out of the freezer before you can eat them? Is there any leaking from defrosting?