Cheesecake is one my all time favorite desserts and the addition of saffron makes it absolutely heavenly! Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice. It is hand picked very carefully from the flower of the saffron crocus plant, the saffron threads are then dried and ready for use. The best saffron is from Spain, Iran and India (Kashmir). Saffron has a very distinct strong floral fragrance and a little pinch goes a long way.
This recipe is very simple and the results are just delicious. Feel free to either make your own crust or just buy a ready made graham cracker crust. For a healthier version, you can use reduced fat cream cheese and reduced fat sweetened condensed milk. I recommend not using the fat free versions as it adversely affects both the texture and taste of the cheesecake.
2 packages of cream cheese (8 ozs. each, at room temperature)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 ozs.)
a good pinch of saffron, soaking in 2 tbsp of milk
sprig of mint for garnish
For the crust:
6 tbsp of melted unsalted butter
25 graham crackers, crushed into a fine powder
To make the crust, combine the melted butter with the powdered graham crackers. Press firmly into a 9” pie pan.
For the cheesecake, beat the cream cheese and slowly add the sweetened condensed milk. Then add the saffron along with the milk. Mix until well combined and then pour into the cheesecake crust. Bake in a 350 deg F oven for 40-45 minutes until set. You can test this by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cheesecake, if it comes out clean it’s done. Let rest for at least 1 hour before refrigerating. Garnish with a little sprig of mint. Serve with whipped cream or your favorite sauce (such as mango, orange, lemon, strawberry…).
Add a little pureed mango to the cheesecake batter for a delicious mango saffron cheesecake. For a different flavor, add some lime, lemon or orange zest into the cheesecake batter.