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in the kitchen with: christelle’s raspberry and rosewater cheesecake

by Kristina Gill

I am not a voracious cheesecake eater, though I love tasting just one bite to feel the creaminess and perfect crust-to-filling ratio. But that doesn’t always happen, so until now, only Nigella Lawson’s Mango Cheesecake can tempt me to eat a whole slice. This week, Montreal-based art director and food stylist Christelle is trying to compromise my loyalty to Nigella with her recipe for Raspberry and Rosewater Cheesecake. It is the result of repeated attempts to recreate the perfect cheesecake she once tasted. Don’t worry if you can’t find fresh raspberries in your hemisphere — frozen raspberries work perfectly. If you prefer a cheesecake made with ricotta cheese, try Dani Fisher’s fabulous version from our archives. — Kristina

About Christelle: Christelle, author of the food blog Christelle is flabbergasting, is a French expatriate who works as an art director and freelance food stylist in Montreal, Canada. Through her blog, she shares her best recipes, which are inspired by her family, the memories imprinted on her taste buds and her travels. She also shares city guides of her best spots around the world (all of which she hopes to discover!) among other fun stories. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

The full recipe continues after the jump . . .


Raspberry and Rosewater Cheesecake

For the crust:

  • 250 g (8 oz.) “Biscuits Rose de Reims” cookies (you can find these in French or European specialty food shops, or replace them with your favorite cookies: Digestive, Speculoos, etc.)
  • 90 g (3 oz.) butter


For the filling:

  • 750 g (three 8 oz. packs) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. rosewater (1 tbsp. more or less, according to taste)


For the raspberry topping:

  • 185 g (1 1/2 cup) frozen raspberries
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. corn starch
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) water
  • 1 tbsp. rosewater


Make the crust:

Finely grind the “Biscuits Rose de Reims” cookies and mix in well with the butter. Butter an 8-inch (22 cm) springform pan and press the cookie mixture evenly into the pan using the bottom of a glass or spoon (and up the sides if you wish, as well). Put aside in the freezer.

Prepare the filling:

1. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Gradually add each egg and rosewater while beating on low speed until the texture is creamy.

2. Place the springform pan with the crust on a baking sheet (to prevent dripping) and pour the filling evenly into the crust.

3. Place the baking sheet with the cheesecake in the middle rack of the oven.

4. Fill another large-edged pan (like a dripping pan) with water and place it on the lowest oven rack (this keeps the cheesecake moist).

5. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes at 300ºF (150ºC). Once the oven has been turned off, let the cake cool inside the oven and leave the door closed.

6. Once it is completely cooled, put it in the refrigerator overnight.

Make the raspberry topping:

1. Place the sugar and corn starch in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat.  Add water and stir well.

2. Add the frozen raspberries and crush them using a wooden spoon. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir continually for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Though I did not do this in my photos, you can strain the raspberry topping if you like, to remove the seeds.

3. Remove cake from the pan and transfer to a plate. Spread the topping over the chilled cheesecake and decorate with fresh raspberries. Refrigerate for an hour (or not, if you can’t resist the urge!).

4. Top with fresh raspberries if you have them.




Why Christelle Chose This Recipe

I am one of the biggest cheesecake fans you will probably come across. This passion was ignited when I lived in Barcelona (not New York!) and where I tasted the best cheesecake I’ve ever eaten, prepared by a friend of mine. Despite begging her to share her recipe, she never revealed it. Since then, I’ve searched for the best cheesecake recipe: not too sweet, not too big, not too heavy. This one is a twist on the traditional version, using “Biscuits Rose de Reims” cookies and rosewater. It’s fragrant, smooth and very delicate. Now I no longer have the need to send emails to this friend of mine! ;)

Portrait by Frederic Dupuis

Suggested For You


  • The rosewater addition has me reconsidering cheesecakes. My only problem is that cooking in an old Chambers means the oven holds the temperature for hours – I suppose I just chance it collapsing, or should I leave it in a bit longer?

  • Does anyone know what the U.K. name or equivalent for cornstarch is? Is it the same as cornflour for thickening sauces? I love the flavours of rose water and raspberry so would like to try this.

  • Hummmm it sounds gorgeous, love rosewater and rasperries that reminds me about Pierre Hermé Ispahan, my favorite pastry ! Big congrats Christelle for this featuring here you deserve it :)

  • Cornstarch is the same as corn flour. This recipe sounds out of this world. Would be good with Turkish fairy floss on the top too.

  • @all: thank you so much for your kind words! This cheesecake is as delicious as it looks!

    @Naomi: every oven is different, but one thing is sure: you don’t want to overcook your cheesecake! Keeping your cheesecake inside a turned-off oven simply helps to avoid cracks in the filling (that happens sometimes): the cheesecake slowly cool down so there’s is no violent change of temperature and no cracks. Eventually, you can let the oven door a little bit open if you’re afraid to overcook the cheesecake.

    @Stencil Helen: yes, corn starch and corn flour are the same! :)

  • Thanks for the response – maybe I’ll attempt opening the door slightly. That’s one of the few drawback I have with my Chambers. These old stoves from the ’30’s are too well made; they were designed to hold the temperature for several hours after being turned off, and mine definitely does!

  • This recipe sounds divine. The pictures are also wonderful. I’m not sure the biscuits that you used are available here in Australia. Could you suggest an alternative. Would just plain sweet biscuits be okay?

  • @christine: Thank you! :) As specified in the recipe, you can use your favorite cookies instead of Biscuits Rose de Reims : digestive, social tea, Speculoos… or try to make Biscuits Rose by yourself following the link Annika shared in the comment form!

  • Hi Christine,

    I can’t speak to the rose-scented ladyfingers substitute, but any sweet biscuit works– digestives are a fave in the anglo world. In the US we use graham crackers. But you can use any crumbly cookie (biscuit)– chocolate wafers (though maybe not for this), or plain vanilla cookies? Just mix per Christelle’s instructions.


  • @Stencil Helen: as specified by a reader on my blog, apparently corn starch is not exactly the same as corn flour (corn flour is ground more finely!) Sorry for the confusion!

    @Sara-Laura : merci ! Je viens de mettre la recette en Français sur le blog !

  • I need to make small cheesecakes for a wedding. Was wondering if I could use this recipe with ashortbread crust and then put in small muffin tins or tart tins. But not sure how long to cook for. Or perhaps a reg. size muffin tin. What about high altitude. I live in a high altitude area. Would I need to adjust the amounts of ingredients?

  • I found this post though Pinterest. The photo was so beautiful that I just had to come here to read the recipe! Love it! And love your site :-).

    I would like to invite you to share this post (and your other posts :-) ) on a new photo based recipe sharing site that launched in May. The idea is simple: all recipe photographs are published within minutes of submission. And, of course, the images link back to the author’s site.

    It’s called RecipeNewZ (with Z) – http://recipenewz.com

    I hope you get a chance to visit and to share some of your delicious posts with our viewers. It would be a pleasure to have you on board :-)

  • Hello!
    I am so excited to try this recipe! I adore cheesecake AND rosewater, what a perfect marriage!
    I do have one question however pertaining to the crust of the cake. Would just plain ladyfingers make a good substitute for the Biscuits Rose de Reims?

  • I am suffering from rose petal overload in my garden right now, so decided to make some rose water from all the surplus petals- imagine my delight to find I now have a delicious recipe to bake a cheesecake with my rose water !! thank you , Design*Sponge ! XO Bea

  • I make both fridge and baked cheesecaks and I dont see you put lemon juice in yours. The recipes I have less cream cheese is used abd condensed milk goes in or cream goes in. So my question is, isn’t this cheese cake a bit dry? I am asking because I would want to give it a try. I like trying new recipes but all comments just say beautiful cake, no one actually made it. Could you describe the texture of this cheese cake? It does look yummy indeed.

  • I am attempting this cheesecake today however with strawberries and will be cooking in a normal oven. Wondering if it needs to sit overnight like suggested or if it’ll be good in 6 hours for dinner?

  • Oh wow! I am a cheesecake lover and this one looks delicious and very original! Need to try to bake it this weekend, thanks for the inspiration!