Strawberry Rose Cheesecake Recipe, with labneh
Serves: 8-10
For all of its luscious richness, this cake is delightfully light, refreshing, and beautiful. It doesn't hurt anything for our summer days that it's not baked, but chilled for a good long time, so you can make it up to a few days in advance. Top the cheesecake with strawberries and blueberries for a 4th of July beauty.
  • Strawberry-Rose Cheesecake
  • 1 envelope plain powdered gelatin (such as Knox brand)
  • ½ cup pomegranate juice
  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 ounces salted butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1 pound cream cheese (2 8 oz. boxes)
  • 1 cup labneh or plain Greek yogurt
  • ⅔ cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided
  • ½ teaspoon rose water
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped, reserving a few for garnish
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  1. In a small saucepan, slowly sprinkle the gelatin over the pomegranate juice, letting the powder saturate in the juice as you go. Warm the mixture over medium low heat until the gelatin is dissolved, taking care not to bring to a boil. Pour the mixture into a small bowl to cool completely.
  2. Heat the oven to 360°F. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter. Press the damp crumbs evenly into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan. The crumbs can be pressed up the sides of the pan partially, or kept along the bottom only. Bake the crust for about 20 minutes, or until it is fragrant and firm. Cool completely.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, or in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, pulse or whisk the cream cheese and labneh with ⅔ cup of the sugar and rose water until they are completely smooth and no lumps remain.
  4. Add the strawberries and pulse or whisk until the berries are fully incorporated into the cheese mixture. Pour in the cooled pomegranate juice mixture and mix just to combine (over-stirring the gelatin can render it less effective). Taste and add more rose water if needed.
  5. Pour the strawberry-cheese mixture into the prepared and cooled graham cracker crust. Chill for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. To remove the cake from the spring form pan, wrap the pan with a kitchen towel that has been rinsed in very warm water and wrung out. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake, then open the spring form ring, run a large metal spatula under the crust, and transfer the cake to a serving platter.
  6. Combine the sour cream with a teaspoon of sugar and spread it over the top of the cheesecake. Arrange the reserved whole berries in the center of the cake, and serve cold.
Recipe by Rose Water & Orange Blossoms at