Cheesecake With Za'atar Base & Sumac Berries
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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

Cheesecake With Za'atar Base & Sumac Berries
Print recipe
Preparation time 15 Min.
Preparation time 45 Min.
Working time 1 Std.
Servings 1 Cake


For the Za'atar floor

  • 200 g Butter cookies Wholemeal also works
  • 100 g Butter
  • 3 TL 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 TBSP. Cornstarch
  • 2 TBSP Lemon juice
  • 1 TSP Rose water

For the sumac berries

  • 300 g Berries (e.g. raspberries & blueberries) Frozen or fresh
  • 3 TBSP Sugar
  • 1 TSP Rose water
  • 1 EL 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.


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  1. Wow, it looks great!

    NO sugar at all in the mass? But then so be it, I think it's even better 🙂 .

    Kind regards

    1. Hello Tobias,

      oops, I left out all the "fun" about the cheesecake - of course there's sugar in it. I added it straight away. Thank you! 🙂

      Kind regards

  2. I'll let you know if it needs sugar - I added 3 tbsp now because I found it a bit too sour otherwise 😉 😉 I'll let you know if it needs sugar!

    1. 5 stars
      Hello, I baked the cheesecake this weekend, I was very curious. I didn't quite stick to the quantities, didn't want any leftovers, and I have to admit, I used cream cheese balance. 😬 I love cheesecake in general, this is a really interesting variation with an addictive factor. Your combinations are mega, brilliantly executed with this cake too. Definitely must try, don't worry, the acidity is perfect. I'm always amazed by your recipes. 👍

      1. Hello Nancy,
        Thank you for your great feedback. I'll have to keep cream cheese balance in mind when I do a little "diet" round again 😀

        Kind regards

  3. Hello, the recipe sounds really interesting. I would like to try it out, but unfortunately our oven only has convection. Does it also work with convection or does the cake dry out too quickly? Maybe someone has had some experience with this 🙂

    1. Hey Claudio,

      you can also bake the cake with convection only without any problems. 🙂

      Kind regards

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