Labneh cheesecake with roasted apricots, honey and cardamom

This beautiful cake has a Middle Eastern twist

  • place SERVES 10 - 12
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Recipe adapted from Falastin by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wrigley, Ebury Press


  • Preheat oven to 160°C fan. Grease and line the base and sides of a 23cm springform baking tin.
  • For the base, lay out one sheet of filo on a clean work surface. Measure out a third of the butter (to brush on the filo), and set the remaining 60g aside. Brush the sheet until well coated, then top with the second sheet. Continue until all filo and butter has been used up, finishing with a coating of butter. Transfer the filo stack to a parchment-lined baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden and crispy.
  • Cool for 15 minutes (or longer) before breaking apart into large shards. In two batches, blitz the shards in a food processor and for about 10 seconds, to form fine crumbs. Place in a medium bowl, then blitz the nuts for about 20 seconds, until fine but not powdery. Add the nuts to the filo along with the flour, sugar, spices, flaked salt and remaining two-thirds of butter and mix to combine.
  • Tip the mixture into the lined tin and press down firmly and evenly to cover the base. Bake for 12 min, or until lightly golden. Then leave to cool.
  • For the filling, clean the food processor and add the labneh, ricotta, sugar and salt. Pulse briefly to combine. Scrape down the sides, then add the eggs, egg yolks, orange zest, orange blossom water, vanilla extract and cornflour. Pulse for about 15 seconds, to combine, then pour into the cake tin.
  • Bake for 60–70 minutes, or until the cake is beginning to take on some colour around the edges but still has a slight wobble in the middle. Cool at room temperature for an hour before refrigerating for at least 4 hours or (preferably) overnight.
  • On the day of serving, preheat oven to 200°C fan. Put the honey, orange blossom water, orange juice and bashed cardamom pods into a small pan and place on a medium-high heat. Cook for 4–6 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture has reduced by half and is beginning to form a thin syrup. Spread the apricots out on a parchment-lined baking tray, on their side, and drizzle over half the syrup. Bake for about 8 minutes, turning the apricots over halfway through baking, until softened but retaining their shape. Set aside until completely cool.
  • Just before serving (up to 1 hour, if you want to prepare ahead), release the cake from its tin and transfer to a round serving platter. Top with the apricots – with no overlap – and drizzle with the remaining syrup. Scatter over the mint leaves, if using, and serve.


5 sheets of good-quality filo pastry (about 110g)

90g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing

40g walnut halves

60g pistachio kernels

1 tbsp plain flour

50g caster sugar

10 cardamom pods, shells discarded and seeds finely crushed in a pestle and mortar (or ¾tsp ground cardamom)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp flaked sea salt


500g labneh

500g ricotta

210g caster sugar

⅔ tsp flaked sea salt

5 eggs (2 whole, and 3 yolks only)

2 tsp finely grated orange zest

1 tbsp orange blossom water

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp cornflour


75g runny honey

2 tsp orange blossom water

40ml orange juice

6 cardamom pods, shells on, seeds roughly bashed together in a pestle and mortar

350g ripe apricots, stones removed, cut into 6 wedges

A small handful of picked mint leaves, to garnish (optional)

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