Saffron & Hazelnut Cheesecake with Honeyed Figs
I have been waiting and waiting all summer long for this time to finally roll around. And now that it has, I cannot contain myself. People, it’s fig season! My obsession with figs is outrageous and no doubts scary to most people. I will break down walls if I know figs are near by and happily eat an entire basket of figs despite the looming stomach ache that’s bound to occur.
The other day a few of us went up to San Fran to wander the Ferry Building farmers’ market. Man, if you haven’t been yet, it’s definitely one of my top favorite markets. It can be crazy crowded, but highly worth it.
And if that morning couldn’t have been more fantastic, there was an ENTIRE booth dedicated to figs! FIGS! My eyes nearly popped out of my head and I had to hold back my inner “Gollum”. No one appreciates a crazy person clawing at a basket of figs screaming “my precious”, while shoveling every on of them into her mouth.
Luckily, figs fetch the price of gold a farmers market, so I was able to keep my calm, snag a few samples and venture on.
With fig season in full swing, I could not let a single day go by without making one, or as many things as possible, with these little gems. Every dinner has consisted of my favorite salad. The perfect pairing of arugula, fig, goat cheese, basil and fresh cherry tomatoes(from my deck.) YUM!
But my favorite thing so far has been this Saffron & Hazelnut Cheesecake topped with fresh figs, honey and Fleur de Sel. Oh my goodness, I cannot stop eating it!
Saffron is one of those magical spices that add so much complexity to a dish. So often it’s used in savory dishes such a Paella or risotto. However, paired with toasted hazelnuts, a hint of lemon, honey and FRESH FIGS, it’s to die for!
I think from here on out, every sweet I make needs to have saffron in it. Saffron and almond scones… White chocolate Saffron cake… Saffron and Ginger cookies… there’s so many great combinations!
Until then, I am devouring this cheesecake and the two massive baskets of figs I purchase over the weekend.
With love, from my kitchen to yours!
- 3/4 cup roasted hazelnuts
- 12 whole graham crackers, broken
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted + extra for greasing the pan
- 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 0.020 oz saffron threads, chopped fine
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp grated lemon peel
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp hot water
- Fleur de Sel salt, to taste
- Basket of ripe figs
- Chef’s knife
- Measuring cups
- Small bowl for melting butter
- Cutting board
- Microplane or zester
- Food processor
- Electric mixer
- Large bowl
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325°F. Grease 9-inch-diameter springform pan. Wrap aluminum foil around outside of pan. Coarsely chop hazelnuts in food processor. Add graham crackers and sugar and process until fine crumbs form. Add melted butter and process until crumbs begin to stick together. Press crumbs into bottom and 1 inch up sides of prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool pan on rack.
- Soak chopped saffron threads in the 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tsp lemon peel. Set aside.
- Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy. Slowly add sugar; beat until smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time, mixing just until incorporated. Add in saffron-lemon juice mixture and mix until fully incorporated.
- Pour filling into crust. Bake cake until outer 2-inch portion of top is set and center looks slightly glossy and is barely set, about 45-50 minutes. Turn off oven, leaving cheesecake to slowly cool in oven for 1 hour. Remove cheesecake from oven and carefully run a knife around sides of pan to loosen. This will keep the top of cheesecake from cracking while it cools. Transfer to rack cool to room temperature. Cover; chill overnight.
- Combine honey with warm water until it softens and becomes easily drizzled.
- Clean figs and slice in half. Loosen pan sides from cheesecake. Place cheesecake on serving plate. Arrange figs however you like on top of the cake. Drizzle cake and figs with honey. Sprinkle with Fleur de Sel to taste. Serve cake immediately.