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While staying at the rather fabulous Riad Fes, a stunning converted palace in the medina in Fes el Bali, the chefs showed me several very modern desserts, including a cheesecake flavoured with rosewater, and served with citrus fruits. I loved the idea of combining classic Moroccan fruits and flavours with a European-style cheesecake. Here I have gone for a baked cream cheese and ricotta base and a pillowy soft layer of cream, lightly perfumed with lemon and rosewater, and topped with figs, orange and pomegranate.


For the cheesecake

100g butter, plus extra for greasing

300g digestive biscuits

500g cream cheese

350g ricotta cheese

130g icing sugar

1 tablespoon cornflour

2 tablespoons rosewater

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

4 eggs

For the topping

300ml double cream

2 tablespoons icing sugar

1 teaspoon rosewater

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

4 figs, quartered

1 orange, peeled, segmented and chopped, membrane removed

80g pomegranate seeds

Runny honey, to drizzle

1. Preheat the oven to 180БЛC/160БЛC fan/gas mark 4 and grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin with butter and baking paper

2. Melt the butter in a small pan over a medium heat. Crumble the biscuits into a food processor and blend until fine. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the butter. Mix together and tip into the lined cake tin. Press the biscuit crumbs firmly into the base to form a really well-packed layer. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

3. Tip the cream cheese and ricotta into a blender and blend until smooth. Add the icing sugar and cornflour, and blend together for 30 seconds. Add the rosewater, lemon juice and zest, then the eggs, one at a time, and blend until smooth – check there are no lumps. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 1–1. hours, or until just set with a gold tinge at the edges. Allow to cool in the tin, then refrigerate for a few hours.

4. When you are ready to serve, tip the cream into a mixing bowl and add the icing sugar, rosewater and the lemon zest and juice. Whisk to soft peaks.

5. Remove the cheesecake from the tin and put on a cake stand. Spoon the cream on top. Arrange the figs and orange segments and scatter over the pomegranate seeds. Finally drizzle honey so it oozes down the sides. Serve.


From Orange Blossom & Honey by John Gregory-Smith