Kashmiri Chai Cheesecake
Kashmiri Chai is a beautiful pink hued tea with floral notes. Not to be mistaken for a full rose flavor like many South Asian desserts, but just a touch of floral with a creamy, salty flavoring. The hint of salt with the texture of pistachios and almond is what makes this tea so comforting, especially in the colder months.
A couple weeks back Scafa Lahore came out with a delectable East meets West fusion of Kashmiri Chai Cheesecake. Being one who loves fusion flavors, this was something that excited me right away! Unfortunately, I’m not going to Lahore anytime soon (unless someone wants to invite me!) but with all the tags I received to recreate this cheesecake the minute it went up, I just had to give it a try!
I immediately called my mom and sister to get their hands on some authentic Kashmiri Tea Leaves. There’s only one family I know I’d go to for it and it’s the Haroon Family. Growing up in a tight knit diverse Michigan community you know who to go to for what and this particular family were the IT people for Kashmiri Chai. My first exposure to it was when they’d make percolator fulls for the masjid dinners or late night Taraweeh chai sessions.
A salty but sweet flavor, textural nuts and that soothing creamy rich note. I knew I had to get this right. I got right in the kitchen and started experimenting. Tea leaves can be tricky. I knew I had to brew the leaves but then how was I suppose to bake the tea once it was brewed?! It would just burn. And then it came to me...No Bake Cheesecake!
So here’s my take on this ever popular fusion of a Kashmiri classic. Ingredients: 1 cup Water 1.5 tsp Kashmiri Chai Leaves 2 to 3 Crushed Cardamom Pods 1/8 tsp Salt 1/8 tsp Baking Soda 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream 4 tbsp Sugar 4oz Cream Cheese 1/2 tsp Almond Extract (optional) 1/8 tsp Cinnamon Powder 1.5 tbsp Gelatin 4 tbsp Water
Crust: 1 cup Shelled Pistachios 1/4 cup Sugar 3 tbsp Butter
Bring the water, cardamom pods and salt to a boil, then add the tea leaves and baking soda.
Whisk continuously as the mixture bubbles up.
Boil until half the liquid is reduced while whisking to bring out the pink color.
Then remove from heat and add heavy whipping cream and mix to get a beautiful pink hue.
Add sugar and whisk to melt and dissolve the sugar in the tea mixture.
Strain and add to a mixing bowl with cream cheese, almond extract and cinnamon powder.
Whisk until smooth and set aside.
Mix and set aside the water and gelatin to bloom.
Pulse the pistachios and sugar in a food processor then pulse the butter in to make a crumbly mixture.
Add the nut mixture at the bottom of a cheesecake pan or mini individual glasses.
Press down firmly to form a crust.
Now whisk your bloomed gelatin into your chai and cream mixture.
Pour the batter into the crusted pan.
Place the cheesecake in the fridge for at least an hour to set or overnight.
Enjoy garnishing with rose petals and pistachio.
Kashmiri Chai can be found at your local Indian/Pakistani store or online. If there is a specific brand you try please do inform me, I'd love to try another source other than my friends tea leaves!
Halal gelatin is found at your local health food stores such as Whole Foods or online. Search for a vegan gelatin such as Agar Agar (made of compressed algae, also known as "China Grass"). Many desi stores also carry it but I don’t particularly trust where the source comes from. Here is my Amazon Top Picks where I've linked the one I use.
Rule of thumb when using Agar Agar in place of gelatin:
1 tsp gelatin = 1 tsp agar powder (this will set 1 cup of liquid)
1 tsp agar powder = 1 tbsp agar flakes = 1/2 agar bar
Alcohol free Almond extract is hard to find. I searched hard for this and the best I could find that gave me great results was Almond Bakery Emulsion. I've also linked this in my Amazon top picks for you. This can be ordered online or you can find it at your local craft store like Michael's. It's a thick liquid so a little goes a long way (1 to 2 drops per tsp).
This No Bake Cheesecake will wow your guests and leave them in awe of what you've just made.
Fairly simple, pudding like tea cheesecake but with that twist! And who doesn't like pink?! Especially when its naturally hued.
Serve it up with a side of Kashmiri Chai (duh!) and a side of my Espresso Date Balls. I hope you give it a try and enjoy it just as much as my family did! Be sure to tag me if you give it a try, I'd love to see how you recreate it!