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Cheesecake with Za’atar Base & Sumac Berries

I know, everyone kind of freaks out about cheesecake. I’m no different. I’ve been making a really delicious cheesecake for years. The steps are perfect and everything happens almost automatically, until one day I had the bizarre idea of mixing some za’atar into the buttery biscuit base. I tried it and that’s when my experimental mood really got going.

Cheesecake with Za’atar

Talk about freaking out: I love contrasts in food! Everyone probably knows salted caramel and I’m really into it. So why shouldn’t za’atar work as well? Let’s recall the ingredients of za’atar. It’s mostly thyme. Then there’s sesame seeds, sumac and a pinch of salt. Mixed with butter and crumbled butter biscuits, it makes an absolutely heavenly base for a really delicious cheesecake.

It’s kind of super weird when you take a piece and first have the very familiar taste of cheesecake in your mouth and then the other flavours slowly make themselves known. First cheesecake, then thyme with sesame seeds and finally a delicate hint of salt. Perfect!

Sumac and the berries

Okay, so we have the base. But you can also garnish cheesecake so beautifully with all kinds of wonderful things. How about something fruity to go with the sweet cake? A berry compote in itself brings a super fruity note and a fresh acidity. But boost it with some sumac and rose water. It’s a real party in the mouth.

In combination with chopped pistachios and of course the delicious cheesecake, there is really only one thing left to do: Happy Ausrasting!

P.S.: If you ever have guests over who are not very keen on experimenting – the cheesecake actually looks quite harmless on the outside 😛

Recipe for cheesecake with za’atar base & sumac berries

Käsekuchen Mit Za'atar-Boden & Sumach-Beeren
Print Recipe Rezept speichern
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 12 Pieces
Calories 452


For the Za'atar floor

  • 200 g Butter cookies  Wholemeal also works
  • 100 g Butter
  • 3 Teaspoon  Za'atar

For the cream cheese mixture

  • 600 g Cream cheese
  • 230 g Low-fat curd cheese
  • 150 ml Cream
  • 200 g Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 3 Tablespoon  Cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoon  Lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon  Rose water

For the sumac berries

  • 300 g Berries (e.g. raspberries & blueberries) Frozen or fresh
  • 3 tablespoon  sugar
  • 1 teaspoon  Rose water
  • 1 tablespoon  Sumac

For garnishing

  • 10 g Chopped pistachios


Za'atar soil

  • Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
  • Crush the butter biscuits properly. Please do not crush them completely.
  • Melt the butter.
  • Mix crumbly biscuits with za'atar and butter and place in a springform pan lined with baking paper, spreading with your hands and pressing down a little.
  • Bake the base in the oven for approx. 10 minutes.

Cream cheese mixture

  • Mix all the ingredients together. Please do not beat, as this will cause air to rise. The cake would then rise and collapse at the end. Mix everything slowly until it becomes a creamy mixture.

Bake cheesecake

  • Pour the cream cheese mixture onto the biscuit base and carefully smooth it out.
  • Bake the cheesecake for approx. 40 – 45 minutes at 180 °C in a preheated oven. Then allow to cool completely.

Sumac berries

  • Combine berries (defrosted if frozen) with sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil briefly, then simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the sumac and rose water and mix well.

Garnish cheesecake

  • Serve the sumac berries with the cheesecake or spread them directly on top. Garnish with chopped pistachios if desired.


Recipe contains affiliate links.


Calories: 452kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 325mg | Potassium: 138mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 1108IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 1mg

How about tahini buns, marble cake with tahini, babka or classic knefeh?

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