Fig and Almond Cheesecake

Fig and Almond Cheesecake with Amaretto Creme Anglaise

Cheesecake. Ahh. My fall back dessert. You know, when you go to a restaurant and you want dessert, but you look at the dessert menu hoping to try something new and exciting but nothing necessarily jumps off the page at you? That’s when I go to my beloved cheesecake. It never lets me down. Creamy, smooth and decadent in any form, it is by far one of my all-time favorite desserts.

While in Toronto over Labor Day weekend, my Chief Culinary Consultant and I decided that we couldn’t go to Toronto without heading up the CN Tower to check out the view. After a longish walk from our hotel there, an almost 1 hour wait to buy tickets and an almost 2 hour wait to catch an elevator up, we decided that we should definitely reward ourselves with dinner in the observation tower before heading down and heading for home. We both enjoyed pasta dinners (my wild mushroom ravioli was fab!), and when the waiter asked if we wanted to see the dessert menu he was met with my eager outstretched hand. We decided to share something and my mind shot straight to ‘Fig and Almond Cheesecake’. It’s the cheesecake thing – I can’t resist! Plus, it had figs. I love figs! Then I read further… shortbread crust… sour cream glaze… Amaretto crème anglaise. I knew immediately what I wanted! Once we started to dig in, we couldn’t stop oohing and aahing. It was beyond the best cheesecake I had ever had. And we quickly agreed that I needed to take copious notes so that I could recreate it back home. Enter this cheesecake.

Fig and Almond Cheesecake with Amaretto Creme Anglaise

I combined all of the aspects of the amazing CN Tower cheesecake and set to work making my own replica. So, how did I do? Let’s break it down. The shortbread crust that I made was a little more crisp than the cheesecake at the restaurant; the one there was thicker and softer. The figs in the original were fresh (and I loooooove fresh figs), but unfortunately they are out of season around my part of the world and I couldn’t find any, so I used dried. You can definitely use either, but I would certainly prefer fresh. Moving on to the cheesecake. I personally think this is the best cheesecake I have made from a texture standpoint – it could not be beat. It was still a little denser than the original, but I don’t think I would change a thing. The sour cream glaze and the Amaretto crème anglaise (with vanilla bean) were both spot on, in my opinion.

So, in summary… not an exact replica of the cheesecake we ate, but an absolutely spectacular homage that I will be keeping in my cheesecake arsenal next to my other favorites – Oreo Cheesecake, Peanut Butter-Fudge Cheesecake, Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake, Coffee and Espresso Cheesecake, Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte, and Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake. I know I will be making this over and over again for many years to come.

Fig and Almond Cheesecake with Amaretto Creme Anglaise

Cheesecake Tutorial

Cheesecakes can give us all headaches – between the consistency, the cracking, water baths, etc. – but admittedly, the creamy and decadent dessert sure is worth it! Jamie from My Baking Addiction put together a great tutorial and video on preparing a cheesecake and baking it in a water bath. I highly recommend checking it out: Snickers Cheesecake and Vlog

Happy Cheesecake Baking! What’s your favorite flavor/type?

Fig and Amaretto Cheesecake with Amaretto Creme Anglaise

One year ago: Italian Sausage, Red Pepper and Mushroom Risotto
Two years ago: Chicken Pot Pie

Fig and Almond Cheesecake

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes (active), 8 hours (inactive)

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Crust:
2½ cups shortbread cookie crumbs
½ cup ground almonds
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon almond extract
6 tablespoons butter, melted

For the Cheesecake:
Figs (fresh preferred, okay to substitute dried), halved or sliced, enough to cover crust
32 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1¼ cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Sour Cream Glaze:
2 cups sour cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Amaretto Crème Anglaise:
1-1/3 cups heavy cream
½ vanilla bean, split
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ cup Amaretto

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Double-wrap the bottom and outside of a 9-inch springform pan with heavy duty foil. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

2. Bring a pot of water to a boil for a water bath. Once the crust is cool, place figs on top in a single layer.

3. Beat together the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well until fully incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and beat until well combined, about 1 minute.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared crust. Tap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. Place the pan into a larger pan (a roasting pan is great for this) and pour the boiling water into the larger pan until it is about halfway up the springform pan.

5. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the edges are set, but the middle still jiggles a little. In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and spread the sour cream glaze evenly (and gently) over the top using an offset spatula. Return the cheesecake to the oven for 10 minutes. Keeping the oven door closed, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake rest in the oven for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the cheesecake from the oven, carefully remove it from the water bath, remove the foil and place the cheesecake on a wire rack to cool completely, about an additional 2 hours. Once completely cool, refrigerate for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight).

6. To make the Amaretto crème anglaise: Place a fine-mesh sieve over a clean bowl and have an ice bath ready (a large bowl full of ice that you can place the clean bowl in). Place the heavy cream in a medium saucepan and scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the cream (discard the bean). Warm over medium-low heat just to a slight simmer. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until thick, about 1 minute. Once the cream simmers, slowly drizzle it into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until it reaches 170 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, and it thickens and coats the back of a spatula. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Amaretto. Strain the mixture through the fine-mesh sieve and place the bowl in the ice bath, stirring occasionally, until cool. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the crème anglaise and refrigerate until ready to serve (at least 1 hour).

7. To serve: Plate a slice of cheesecake and spoon the Amaretto crème anglaise over top of each individual slice. Store leftover crème anglaise in an airtight container in the refrigerator; cover any leftover cheesecake with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Both can be kept for up to 4 days. Wrapped, the cheesecake can be frozen for up to 2 months.

(Used the basic cheesecake formula from My Baking Addiction and adapted it to create this fig and almond version. Sour cream glaze is adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. Amaretto Creme Anglaise adapted from Emerils.com.)

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59 Responses to “Fig and Almond Cheesecake”

  1. Abbey on September 28, 2010 at 4:14 am

    this looks absolutely delicious!!

    Reply

  2. LimeCake on September 28, 2010 at 4:59 am

    i’ve never seen figs in cheesecake before. this looks perfect for Fall!

    Reply

  3. Lori on September 28, 2010 at 6:28 am

    Michelle,
    Thanks for posting this terrific recipe. I have a box of fresh figs that needs to be used up. Yum!

    Reply

  4. Tabitha (From Single to Married) on September 28, 2010 at 6:37 am

    Love it! That’s a combination you don’t see every day and it looks fantastic!

    Reply

  5. Amalia on September 28, 2010 at 7:00 am

    I’ve never tried figs before, can you believe it? this looks fantactic thanks!

    -Amalia

    Reply

  6. Katrina on September 28, 2010 at 7:40 am

    You display of this cheesecake is so cute! I live really close to Toronto and have had the cheesecake you speak of!! Neat-o.

    Reply

  7. linda on September 28, 2010 at 8:47 am

    wow…this is a GOOD one…but then all your cheesecakes are!
    my all time fav is your KILLER coffee & espresso (i have also baked espresso & mocha)…never have a slice left…never!
    have a great day! you made mine!!

    Reply

  8. Tracy on September 28, 2010 at 9:58 am

    What a great fall dessert; I’ve never thought to try figs in cheesecake before! I’ll definitely be giving this one a try – do you think I can just leave out the almonds?

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 28th, 2010 at 7:33 pm

      Hi Tracy, definitely. Just replace the 1/2 cup ground almonds with 1/2 cup more of the cookie crumbs.

      Reply

  9. Lori @ RecipeGirl on September 28, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Cheesecake fan here… any kind! This looks awesome!

    Reply

  10. Maria on September 28, 2010 at 10:13 am

    I’ve been waiting for this special cheesecake:) Looks amazing!

    Reply

  11. Lindsay on September 28, 2010 at 10:17 am

    That looks heavenly!

    Reply

  12. Prerna@IndianSimmer on September 28, 2010 at 10:38 am

    FIGS!! Thay’ve been revolving around me for days now. I think I need to make something out of it already :-)
    Love your cheesecake recipe!

    Reply

  13. Lisa on September 28, 2010 at 11:57 am

    I love how you displayed the cheesecake on the plate. It looks so pretty.

    Reply

  14. Christine on September 28, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    That looks very delicious. I’m also a huge fan of cheesecake – I think my favourite thus far was a pumpkin spice cheesecake I made with a gingersnap crust. Yummy!

    Reply

  15. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle on September 28, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    I admit…don’t hate me, but I have NEVER made anything with fresh figs. For years my abhorrence of fig stemmed from Fig Newtons but I came to realize that there simply is no correlation and have enjoyed then in various dishes at restaurants.

    The problem is the quality of figs in Denver that I find; just not impressed so instead of paying a pretty penny and being disappointed, I will have to continue to enjoy creations like this from afar! Beautiful.

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 28th, 2010 at 7:34 pm

      Barb – you should definitely try using dried figs! Fresh figs are out of season here, so I used dried in this. They’re still great!

      Reply

  16. Katie on September 28, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    I am loving this. Figs are my new discovery this year- I had only had dried until I took the plunge at Whole Foods one day and never stopped, they are a weekly buy for me now. Now the sad thing is, I just, like just this morning just, made a pumpkin cheesecake. It’s actually still cooling. So it would be totally wrong to make this one this week too, wouldn’t it? I lean towards no, but I am a sugar, fig, and cheesecake fan.. my dh would say I was crazy and headed for a sugar coma. Whether it happens this week or in the future, I will be making this! oh, i never use a water bath, just put a pyrex pan with water on the bottom… do you really think the bath is key?

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 28th, 2010 at 7:35 pm

      I would say there’s always room for cheesecake, plus it freezes well… ;-) Enjoy it, whenever you decide to make it!

      Reply

  17. jenna on September 28, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    i’ve never had figs before but this looks amazing! :) what a wonderful recipe. I can’t wait to try it.

    Reply

  18. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking on September 28, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Wow, what an interesting combination of flavors – I bet it tastes even better than it looks! Thanks for sharing, Michelle.

    Reply

  19. Amanda @ bakingwithoutabox on September 28, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    This looks really good! But then most cheesecakes are my friend. Lol.
    Hope the whole snake thing hasn’t scarred you too badly. I would’ve been terrified.

    Reply

  20. The Cheap Gourmet on September 28, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    I had to grab a napkin to wipe the drool off my face. YUM-O! for this fig and almond cheesecake. I recently purchased a pound of dried Turkish figs and have been racking my brain trying to find recipes so I can use them up. I MUST try this as I love cheesecake and would have never thought to add figs to the recipe. You’re a culinary genius! Thanks for sharing this amazing dessert!

    Reply

  21. Patty on September 28, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    I love this story! I lived in Toronto for almost a decade, and it really is a foodie’s paradise. And as for the cheesecake – YUM. Figs and almonds are 2 of my favorite things in the world. Thanks for sharing Michelle!

    Reply

  22. torviewtoronto on September 28, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    beautiful and delicious cheesecake

    Reply

  23. Liliana Tommasini on September 28, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    There’s only one word I can think of – HEAVEN!

    Reply

  24. the blissful baker on September 28, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    what a lovely combination! this cheesecake looks scrumptious :)

    Reply

  25. Dee D. on September 28, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Mmmm that looks so amazingly good! I really want to make that!!

    Reply

  26. Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) on September 29, 2010 at 5:55 am

    That sounds like such a wonderful flavor combination!!

    Reply

  27. GreenGirl on September 29, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Cheesecake, my year round perfect dessert. I never heard of fig cheesecake but your pictures sure make me try it

    Reply

  28. Cook is Good on September 30, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Your cheesecake looks just amazing!

    Reply

  29. Grace on September 30, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Hi Michelle

    First off just wanted to say I am fairly new to your site and I so love visiting! You share amazing recipes and the photos are fantastic!

    This cheesecake looks out of this world. We were lucky enough to have fresh figs at the market last week and I am hoping they have some this week, would love to make this one. I am a huge cheesecake lover.

    You were visiting in my neck of the woods. I am a short drive away from Toronto, sounds like you enjoyed the trip.

    All the best.

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 1st, 2010 at 1:50 pm

      Grace, this is fabulous with fresh figs, definitely give it a go! Toronto was a great city – very pretty and clean, be proud! :)

      Reply

  30. jana @ cherryteacakes on September 30, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    mmmm fig cheesecake must be wonderful! sound delicious!

    Reply

  31. Debby on September 30, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I love cheesecake , thanks for the recipe :)

    Reply

  32. Vicki in GA on October 7, 2010 at 12:34 am

    Without a doubt, this is the best cheesecake recipe I’ve ever read.
    I’ll make the Russian cake first then the cheesecake …. and dig out my big jeans because I think I’ll need them!

    Reply

  33. Jen @ How To: Simplify on October 8, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    This is such an interesting recipe. I bet the flavor just explodes in your mouth! It looks great!

    Reply

  34. Katie on October 13, 2010 at 10:09 am

    I did a google search for fig and almond cheesecake and came across this blog and i’m glad i did!

    I made this for our Thanksgiving dinner and it was a HUGE hit! i’m from Toronto and was excited to see that this is where you originally found the dessert! I used fresh figs as they’re in season and it turned out beautifully. everyone raved about it.

    Thanks so much for posting this, i will definitely make it again, and I’m excited to try your other recipes!

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 18th, 2010 at 10:23 pm

      Happy Thanksgiving Katie (belated)! What a small world! So glad that you got to enjoy the cheesecake, and welcome to the site! I hope you’ll visit often!

      Reply

  35. tcmaryf on October 13, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Two of my most favorite things in the world together on one plate, cheesecake and figs. Something I just know I’m going to love.

    Reply

  36. Lori on October 13, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    Drool drool, drool. I am so making this!

    Reply

  37. Val on August 9, 2011 at 7:33 am

    I just bought some fresh figs (the first of the season) and wanted to find something different and sweet to make other than my usual fig, yogurt & almond cake. This is exactly the sort of thing I was after. Thanks :-)

    Reply

  38. Dave C on August 9, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Don’t throw the vanilla bean away after scraping it! Put it into a container with 2 cups of sugar and make vanilla sugar out of it:) BTW – the recipe looks awesome, and I can’t wait to try it! :)

    Reply

  39. Charlie on August 9, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Looks SO good!

    Could I possibly use ricotta or marscarpone and leave out the cream cheese?

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 9th, 2011 at 2:07 pm

      Oh yikes, definitely not ricotta, the texture it too different. Cream cheese is the hallmark of all cheesecakes, and I have never tried to completely swap it out for mascarpone. I personally wouldn’t, but if you give it a try I’d love to know how it turned out for you!

      Reply

  40. Farida on August 9, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    These so goods for cheesecake recipe and wanna to make it soon, thanks for share.

    farida
    http://kitchensuperfood.com

    Reply

  41. Pavithra on December 20, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Can plz tell me any good recipe to make eggless cheese cake which tastes same as regular cheese cake. I am allergic to chicken and I always try to make them without eggs they turn out bad. Plz help

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 22nd, 2011 at 12:36 am

      I haven’t ever made a cheesecake without eggs; tough one! Hopefully a reader with some vegan knowledge may be able to help.

      Reply

  42. Ameya on June 29, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Hi Michelle! You said the cheesecake can be frozen, wrapped, for up to 2 months. Does that mean individual slices can be stored this way, or does it have to be the whole cake?

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 29th, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      Hi Ameya, Either way. I often wrap individual slices and freeze so I can grab one easily when I’m in the mood for it!

      Reply

  43. Natalie on March 21, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Have been coming back to this recipe for a while now, I’ll definitely make it for Easter this year!

    Is it OK to pour the anglaise ahead of time or should it be only poured when served?

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 26th, 2013 at 12:25 am

      Hi Natalie, I would only pour it over prior to serving.

      Reply

  44. Elena on April 21, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Hi Michelle,

    thank you for the recipe. Gonna make tomorrow but figs are very difficult to find at this time of the year. do you think I’ll just leave out the figs? or should I replace them with something else? (date, plum..)

    Thank you

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 22nd, 2013 at 11:22 am

      Hi Elena, You could use dried figs and plump them up in some hot water for about 30 minutes before using.

      Reply

  45. VERA LIMA on July 1, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    What a great idea !
    I never saw or tasted “FIG CHEESECAKE“
    Very unique. Congrats !

    Reply

  46. Marja on July 31, 2014 at 2:51 am

    For dried figs, do they need to be sliced or chopped ? Or reconstituted? Just to
    clarify.. Thanks :)

    Reply

  47. Marja on July 31, 2014 at 2:53 am

    Just read it for the 3rd time and saw “halved or sliced” oh my goodness. Tired. Planning on trying this for dessert this week :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on July 31st, 2014 at 10:42 am

      Hi Marja, I hope you enjoy it! You could reconstitute the dried figs, or leave them as-is, whatever your personal preference.

      Reply

  48. Marja on August 2, 2014 at 3:16 am

    Michelle– I bake (among a hundred other things) at the restaurant my husband and I own. I make all the desserts from scratch and this dessert sold even better than I hoped! A few ladies stopped for a drink after dinner and all shared a piece– when they raved about it I directed them to your site :D Another one added to my repertoire, thank you so much!!

    Reply

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