Ingredients

½ cup of mixed nuts (I used hazelnuts, almonds & pistachios)
¼ teaspoon cardamom seeds
¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup bulghur wheat
75g butter
200g creamy feta, at room temperature
250g cream cheese, at room temperature
2 eggs
¼ cup caster sugar
juice of 1 lemon and zest of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons honey
2-3 apples, peeled, sliced
¼ cup pomegranate seeds (optional)

I am not a fan of overly sweet desserts, but I do love a baked cheesecake. To add a more savoury note to this cheesecake I have used feta giving a delicious sweet-salty combination. I have also used bulghur wheat for a sugar-free base which gives a texture almost like rice pudding, but you can replace this with a regular crushed biscuit base if you prefer.

 

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Instructions

1.Heat the oven to 160°C.
2.Lay the nuts on a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes until golden and toasted. If using pistachios, leave them unroasted to retain their vibrant colour.
3.Toast the cardamom and coriander seeds in a dry frying pan for 30 seconds until just fragrant then grind to a powder with ¼ teaspoon of the salt.
4.Chop the nuts roughly and mix with the cardamom mixture and cinnamon. Store in an airtight container.
5.Line the base and sides of a 12 x 20cm (or similarly sized) loaf tin.
6.Put a frying pan (use one that has a lid) over a medium heat, add the bulghur wheat and 1 tablespoon of the butter and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes until golden brown.
7.Add the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, pour over ¾ cup water and bring to the boil.
8.Turn to a low heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.
9.Add the remaining butter, cover and leave for a few minutes to melt, then mix together.
10.Press into the bottom of the lined tin and set aside.
11.Raise the oven temperature to 180°C.
12.Put the feta in a bowl and break apart with a fork.
13.Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth.
14.Beat in the eggs, sugar and lemon zest.
15.Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes until just set.
16.Cool and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
17.To serve, put the honey and lemon juice in a frying pan and heat until bubbling.
18.Add the apples and cook for 10 minutes until caramelised.
19.Cool a little then pile on top of the cheesecake and sprinkle over the nuts and spices.
20.Garnish with pomegranate seeds if using.

Recipes & food styling Fiona Smith / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Fiona Lascelles