Never heard of Armenian Cheesecake, have you? That’s because I invented it!!
We were invited to the home of an Armenian family and asked to bring dessert. I had the following parameters: Gluten-free, not too sweet. Easy, right? I decided that I wanted to bring something unique and flavored with traditional Armenian flavors, but I am not Armenian so didn’t want to make anything that actually IS traditional (I’m not competing head to head with Armenian cooks!!). So I thought of figs and the young black walnut preserves Armenians put in their tea…and cheesecake, a nice classic for summer. It came out DELICIOUS, not too sweet, very distinctive, unique flavor, fluffy texture, etc. Both kids and adults loved it, even adults who don’t like sweets OR cheesecake!!
So I’m sharing with you:
Darcy’s Armenian Fig Cheesecake with Gluten-Free Cinnamon Crust
Prep Time: 45-60 min. – including cooling time for the milk
Bake Time: 60 min.
Total Time: 5 Hours (3 hours of cooling after baking)
2 cups Chex cinnamon gluten-free cereal, crushed/pulverized/crumbled
4 Tbl unsalted butter – very soft
Blend together, and press into the bottom of a 9″ glass pie dish. Set aside.
3 8-oz packs of regular cream cheese
1 10-oz log of goat cheese with figs (I used Celebrity Int’l brand)
.5-1 cup (to taste) sweetener of choice – I used the syrup from young black walnut preserves. You can use sugar, honey, jam in a complementary flavor, etc.
3/4 cup milk – in which you’ve boiled 2 Tbl strong black tea and 1/2 tsp whole cloves until the milk turns medium brown and smells VERY strongly of the tea and cloves. Let cool.
8-oz sour cream
1/4 cup gluten-free flour
Fig marmalade – about 8 oz. Heated until runny. (I found a huge jar at Costco pretty cheap – used about half).
1 orange – zested
Let cheeses stand at room temperature until soft. Blend them together until creamy. Add the sweetener and the cooled milk and 1 full tsp of orange zest. Blend. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and flour – DO NOT OVER MIX – only blend as much as needed.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Ladle a thin layer of filling over the crust and smooth. Top with a thin evened-out spooning of the warmed, runny, fig marmalade. Add another thin layer of filling, then another thin layer of fig, then a very thin layer of filling.
I had enough filling left over to fill 3 ramekins – skipped all the layering and the crust, and just put in filling and spread some fig marmalade on top then baked. This was also delicious, so you can skip all the layering work if you want, and just do a layer of marmalade on top of the filling.
Pop into the heated oven for 1 hour – BE SURE TO PUT A LINER DOWN – this has a tendency to bubble over (because I totally overfilled the dish – I REGRET NOTHING!)
The edges should be lightly browned, and it’s ok if the middle jiggles a little when the dish is moved. It will firm as it cools. The little ramekins I baked for only 45 min. – putting them into the oven 15 min. after the big cake, then letting everything bake and cool together.
When done, leave the door closed, and just let the cheesecake sit a few hours until it cools.
Top with a sprinkle of orange zest before serving.
In process photos:
Adding the marmalade layer
Side view of all my layers – except the final filling layer on top
With the final top layer – it’s so full, I know disaster (aka leaking) is inevitable, I don’t care…