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Recipe: Savoury Cheese Cake Made with Snow Crab, Smoked Trout, and Lemon Jelly

Inspired by celebrity chef Luke Dale Roberts’ new cookbook, this savoury cheesecake is for serious home cooks

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By House & Garden South Africa | November 2, 2023 | Recipes

Celebrity chef and founder of one of Cape Town’s culinary institutions, The Test Kitchen, Luke Dale Roberts has published his first cookbook, an ode to one of haute cuisine’s most iconic restaurants. Roberts says he wanted to make something savoury using baked cheesecake. The lightly smoked trout and snow crab in this dish complement that classic cheesecake taste. Here’s how to make this New York Cheesecake (that serves 6):


Smoked Trout

15ml miso paste

15ml tamarind paste

5ml grated ginger

juice of 1 lime

juice of ½ orange

400g trout fillet

Snow Crab

1 small leg Alaskan king crab

For the New York Cheesecake

100g miso paste

300g plain Philadelphia

cream cheese

10g cake flour

5ml lemon zest

7.5ml lemon juice

1 whole egg

1 egg yolk

100g sour cream

Lemon Jellies

1½ leaves gelatine

75ml lemon juice

75ml hanepoot

For the Kataifi Malt Crumb

50g malted barley

100g kataifi

drizzle of canola oil

35g parmesan, finely grated

pinch of salt

For the Parsley Purée

30g parsley

1 clove garlic

5ml white wine

100ml vegetable oil

pinch of salt

pinch of sugar

For the Saffron Gel

300g limes, peeled and halved

30g castor sugar

200g pears, peeled and chopped

3 saffron threads

2–3g agar-agar (1g per

100g purée)

olive oil for garnishing

mizuna shoots for garnishing

Specialist Equipment

cold smoker, plating tongs/tweezers, muslin cloth, stand mixer with paddle and whisk attachments, bain-marie, blender, two piping bags, two squeezy bottles, vacuum sealer.


Prepare the Smoked Trout

​Combine the miso, tamarind, ginger, lime juice and orange juice in a small bowl and brush all over the trout fillet. Place the fillet onto a tray, cover with clingfilm and allow to marinate for one hour in the fridge.

​Cold smoke the fillet for two hours (see p. 480).

​Remove the skin and portion the trout widthways into strips, 1.5cm thick and approximately 6cm in length.

Prepare the Snow Crab

​Break each joint of the crab leg by twisting it off. This prevents the shell from breaking and from tearing the crab meat. Using plating tongs or tweezers, pick the crab meat out of the shell and place into a bowl over an ice bath. Discard the shell and pick through the crab meat, ensuring it is free of shell. Flake the crab meat and store in the bowl over ice, covered with paper towel.

Prepare the New York Cheesecake

​Spread half the miso paste over the base of a small tray and cover

with a layer of muslin. Spread half the cream cheese evenly over the muslin. Cover this with another layer of muslin and spread the remaining miso over that. Allow to cure for one hour and then discard the miso and muslin.

​Heat the oven to 140°C and line a small baking tin (about 20cm x 16cm) with clingfilm.

​Place the cured cream cheese and the remaining plain cream cheese into the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat using the paddle attachment until completely soft. Next, beat in the flour, followed by the lemon zest and juice.

​Swap the paddle attachment for the whisk attachment and whisk in the whole egg, followed by the egg yolk, scraping down the sides of the bowl at intervals to ensure everything is properly mixed. Add the sour cream and combine until smooth.

​Pour the mixture into the lined tin and lightly bang it against the edge of the counter to remove any air bubbles. Place a piece of parchment paper over the surface of the cheesecake and cover the whole tin with tinfoil. Steam the cheesecake in a bain-marie in the oven for 25 minutes.

​Remove from the bain-marie and allow to cool at room temperature.

​Once cooled, spoon the cheesecake into a blender and blend for 10 seconds until smooth. Do not over-blend, as this will make the cheesecake runny. Spoon into a piping bag.

Prepare the Lemon Jellies

​Bloom the gelatine in ice water until softened.

​Bring the lemon juice and hanepoot to the boil in a small pot. Remove from the heat.

​Squeeze out the gelatine and dissolve in the hot liquid. Allow to cool slightly, then pour into a piping bag.

​Allow to cool, but not enough so that it sets, then spin into caviar jellies (see p. 481).

Prepare the Kataifi Malt Crumb

​Heat the oven to 160°C. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.

​Place the malted barley onto one tray and toast for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Place the kataifi onto the other tray, drizzle lightly with canola oil and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

​Remove from the oven and wait for both elements to cool completely.

​Blend the barley to a powder in a blender. Add the kataifi and parmesan and blitz for one or two seconds, just to break up the kataifi and not blend it. Season with the salt.

Prepare the Parsley Purée

​Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend to a smooth paste. It should look like a parsley purée that has been split with oil. Store in a squeezy bottle.

Prepare the Saffron Gel

​Seal the limes and sugar in a vacuum pack bag and then freeze.

​Chop the frozen limes into smaller pieces and blend with the pear until smooth.

​Squeeze through a muslin cloth into a bowl and weigh the purée.

​Heat a small amount of the purée in a pot over medium heat and stir in the saffron threads and required amount of agar-agar. Let the saffron colour really bleed out and then strain the mixture into the bowl with the rest of the purée and mix well.

​Pour into a small tray and allow to set. Once set, blitz in a blender until completely smooth and store in a squeezy bottle.

Final Assembly

​Scatter the kataifi malt crumb over a small tray. Pipe a gumball-size sphere of cheesecake onto the crumb and gently shake the tray to coat the cheesecake in the crumb. Lift with a palette knife and place just off-centre on a plate.

​Pipe 15 to 20 tiny dots of parsley purée around the cheesecake in a circular pattern, spiralling out from the cheesecake. Pipe dots of saffron gel in-between the parsley purée.

​Scatter a tablespoon of lemon jellies around the plate.

​Using plating tongs or tweezers, distribute a tablespoon of the snow crab evenly over the dish.

​Place two portions of smoked trout next to the cheesecake.

​Garnish the dish with a drizzle of olive oil and a few mizuna shoots.