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Toasted Sesame Cheesecake with Black Plum Coulis (gluten free)

A gluten free (and optional, sugar free) creamy cheesecake recipe, full of toasted sesame flavor! Featuring an almond meal & ground toasted sesame crust, the tahini and vanilla flavored cheesecake batter is just perfect when paired with a juicy plum coulis.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: European, French
Servings: 12
Author: Jessie-Sierra Ross


For the Crust

  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 cup finely ground almond meal
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Cheesecake Filling

  • 32 ounces or four blocks full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 eggs room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar*
  • 1 tablespoon tahini sesame paste
  • 1 teaspoon fine vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


For the Crust

  • Prepare your 9 inch springform pan with a circle of parchment paper on the bottom.
  • *Reserve a large skillet, shallow-sided pot, or deep casserole dish that your springform pan can "nestle" into, for baking. This is a very important part of the baking process, and allows a slow, even heating. I use a 12-inch cast iron skillet for this purpose, but any large ovenproof vessel that will hold the springform pan will work.*
  • Preheat your oven to 350F.
  • Using a small cookie sheet, pour the sesame seeds and spread into an even layer.
  • Place the pan into the preheated oven and toast for 5-6 minutes, or until golden brown. Be very careful not to burn them.
  • Once toasted, place the cookie sheet on a rack and let cool to room temperature. Keep your oven on.
  • After cooling, grind the sesame seeds in a coffee grinder, or using a mortar & pestle. The grind doesn't have to be too fine; there can be some whole sesame seeds left.
  • Melt the butter in the microwave, or in a small skillet on the stove. Let cool slightly.
  • In a medium sized bowl, combine the ground sesame seeds, almond meal flour, salt, and cinnamon. Mix to combine. Add the melted butter and using your fingertips, combine into a sandy crust. If squeezed, the mixture should form a loose dough.
  • Dump the crust mix into your prepared springform pan and spread out, pressing & covering the whole bottom of the pan. Evenly spread and press the mixture.
  • Place the pan into your still-hot oven, and allow to bake for 10-12 minutes. The crust should be slightly golden brown when ready.
  • After baking, let cool completely on a wire rack.

For the Cheesecake Filling

  • Preheat your oven to 325F.
  • Set 3 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until slightly fluffy. It should still look creamy.
  • Next, on medium-low speed, add the sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat to combine.
  • On low speed, add each egg individually, and beat until incorporated. Next, add the tahini paste. Mix until combined.
  • NOTE: It is VERY important to note that you do not over-mix the filling. Over-mixing incorporates too much air, and the trapped air will cause your cheesecake to rise and bow upwards during cooking, but when cooling, the air will escape and the cake will have a pronounced dip in the center, and be more prone to cracking. It will still taste good, though!
  • Before pouring your batter into the crust, prepare the springform pan and baking vessel.
  • - Taking four large sheets of foil, you must construct a protective liner for your cheesecake as it bakes in it's water bath. Using two sheets of the foil, and fold the horizontal edges together to make one large sheet. Crunch the seam to make it 'seal'. Do the same with the next two sheets.
    - Now that your four sheets of foil have been made into two larger sheets, place them on top of each other, with one seam should horizontal and one vertical. We are trying to prevent any of the water from leaking into the cake!
    - Place your springform pan into the middle of the foil and scrunch & fold around the pan. Keep the top of the foil from touching the top lip of the pan.
    - Next, place the pan into your larger baking vessel and 'nest' the pan in. Make sure there is room around the pan for the water bath.
  • Now, pour your cheesecake filling into the prepared crust, and lightly smooth the top out with a rubber spatula or small offset palette knife.
  • Next, we will create the water bath for baking. Very very carefully, using a ladle or pouring directly if you are brave, pour the boiling water into the *larger cooking vessel*, surrounding the springform pan. Pour until halfway up the side of the springform pan. Don't spill any water into the cheesecake itself.
  • After creating the water bath, carefully transfer the whole vessel to the oven and bake on the middle rack for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until set, turning the cheesecake around midway through baking. The center should be just set when done.
  • Set two wire racks on your counter, one of them with a dish towel underneath.
  • Retrieve your baked cheesecake and carefully place on the rack without the dish towel. Using oven gloves, very gently lift the foil wrapped springform pan and place on the other rack. Still wearing the gloves, carefully peel the foil away.
  • Move the larger vessel to the side, and place the now unfolded cheesecake on the rack to cool to room temperature. Let the cheesecake sit in the fridge for last least 6 hours (or even better, overnight) before serving. Just cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  • To un-mold, gently run a sharp knife around the edge of the cheesecake, and then unsnap the springform. The parchment paper we placed at the bottom of the cake will let you transfer to a cake plate easily.



* Keto Diet Note*
Replace the sugar in each component with granulated monk fruit, using a 1:1 ratio.
Also, when making the crust: dissolve the monk fruit into the hot butter before adding into the sesame and almond meal mix: The granules don't melt in the same fashion as regular sugar when using in the dry mix. But they do incorporate beautifully if added to the heated butter and allowed to dissolve first. This isn't an issue in the cheesecake filling itself, because there is plenty of moisture available, and it is cooked gently for a long period of time.