Playing With My Food ~
A journal about food, thought, travel, and life; by Chef & Raconteur Chaz French.

Mango Saffron Cheesecake

This was the most experimental cheesecake of them all. I decided I wanted to make a mango flavored cheesecake and as I was cooking the mango I realized the color wasn’t as mango-ey as I wanted … not wanting to use food coloring (and not having any on hand) I dropped in some saffron threads figuring that would give me the color I wanted, what I didn’t realize was how heady it was going to make the resulting flavor. This is very much an ‘adult’ cheesecake, with complex flavors and a wonderful texture.

I’m sharing the original version of the recipe, even though I no longer use the pineapple topping. The shortbread crust can be a bitch to cut, so if you want to you can always use a honey graham crust or no crust at all (heresy I know, but I’ve made it all three ways).

Mango-Saffron Cheesecake with a Shortbread Crust & Pineapple Topping


The Mango-Saffron puree
3 Fresh Mangoes cubed
14 Saffron threads
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt

The Cheesecake
1/2 cup sugar
2 pounds cream cheese at room temp.
4 large eggs at room temp.
pinch of salt
8oz sour cream

The Shortbread Crust
1 cup flour
1 stick butter ICE COLD
1/4 cup sugar
7 drops vanilla extract
7 drops almond extract
pinch of salt

The Pineapple Topping
Most (more than 3/4 less than all) of a fresh pineapple cubed (small) (eat the rest)
1/3 cup sugar
cornstarch slurry (one tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons of ice cold water)


The Mango-Saffron Puree
1 2 quart sauce pan
food processor (a must for this one)
sharp knife
Measuring cups

The Shortbread Crust
Food Processor

The Cake

Oven Rack Settings: 1 rack lowest position 1 rack middle position
Stand Mixer
Measuring spoons & cups
9 inch spring form pan.
Cookie pan large enough to hold spring form pan
Small baking dish filled with boiling water
Silicone or rubber spatula
Small paring (or other small non-serrated) knife
Cooling rack
Offset spatula

The Pineapple Topping

Sharp knife
1 2 quart sauce pan
measuring cup


First Item

Mango-Saffron Puree

Peel, pit and cube the mangoes
place in food processor and process into the smallest dice you can get.
put the mango into the sauce pan add the sugar and put over medium high heat.
When it starts to bubble, crush the saffron thread into the mixture and cook for about 10 minutes over medium-low heat.

Pour back into the food processor and give it the gas for several minutes, stopping now and then if you need to let the processor cool off.
When you have a nice puree. put it into a bowl and allow it to cool completely.

Second Item

Shortbread Crust

Preheat oven to 350F
put the flour sugar & salt into the food processor and give couple of pulses to combine.
Cut your ice cold butter into pieces and add them to the ingredients in the food processor pulse until it looks like cornmeal. With the food processor on low add the almond and vanilla extracts this should quickly come into a cookie dough like mound.
Press evenly over the bottom the spring form pan and a little way up the sides (about a half inch)
Bake at 350 for 13-18 minutes until golden brown – allow to cool completely (revision note you may want to crumble this to make cutting the cheesecake easier).


Third Step

The cheesecake
Place 1 package of cream cheese in the large mixing bowl (or your stand mixer bowl) along with about 1/4 of the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, beat until well combined, add in about 1/4 of the sour cream and beat until whipped well. Make certain you scrape down the bowl from time to time while doing this.

Repeat this process until all packages of cream cheese, the sugar and the sour cream are incorporated and well whipped

Now add 2 cups of the Mango-Saffron puree and whip to incorporate, add the salt. Slowly add the eggs a little at time while continuing to mix & scrape the bowl. Once all of this has been added whip another minute or two and then pour into the spring form pan. (if you had more than 2 cups of puree then eat it or toss it).

Open oven, on lowest rack set the baking dish with the water. On the middle rack place the cookie sheet and set the filled spring form pan in it. Close the oven and bake at 275 for about 1 hour 45 minutes. The edges should be set but the center should still be wiggly (like jello) when done cooking.

Because of the amount of mango in this it may take longer to bake I kept mine in about 10 minutes longer.

There may be some cracks around the edges up to 3/4 of an inch. Don’t worry these will settle beautifully.
Place cake on cooling rack, allow to cool for 30-45 minutes then go around edges with the offset spatula (or a thin knife) to loosen. Allow to continue cooling for 3 more hours.

Refrigerate to chill at least 6 hours.

Last Step

Pineapple topping

Place the pineapple and sugar in a sauce pan and cook over medium heat. When it starts to bubble use a spatula to breakdown the pineapple further, continue to cook for about ten minutes over medium low heat. slowly start adding the cornstarch slurry stirring constantly, pause between additions to allow it to thicken and the heat to recover. When the mixture has thickened remove from heat and chill in a bowl.

Before serving the cheesecake spread the pineapple evenly over the top.