New to Northern Soul: Tony Kitous, founder of Lebanese restaurant Comptoir Libanais, shares delicious recipes from his new cookbook Feasts from the Middle East.

Kitous says: “I discovered cheesecake when I moved to London in 1988, in one of my first jobs, washing up and cleaning in a bakery run by a lovely Turkish family on the Walworth Road in Elephant and Castle. I hold very fond memories of working there, and I still pop in whenever I’m passing through south London. This cheesecake uses dark chocolate, tahina and pistachios, all marbled together and spooned on top of a classic digestive biscuit base. It’s a match made in heaven.”

Tahina, Chocolate & Pistachio Cheesecake

Serves 12


For the base:

150g digestive biscuits
50g pistachio nuts, toasted
125g butter, plus a little extra for greasing

For the topping:

250g dark chocolate
(70% cocoa solids)
25g butter
250ml double cream
50g runny honey
100g tahina
75g icing sugar
zest of 1 orange
600g mascarpone
1 tbsp vanilla extract
250g cream cheese

To serve:

25g pistachio nuts, chopped
halva, crumbled
toasted sesame seeds


Grease and line a circular 20–24cm spring form tin with some baking parchment.

Whizz the biscuits and pistachios in a food processor until the biscuits have become crumbs and the pistachios are finely chopped. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a low heat. Tip the
crushed biscuits into the pan, stir together, then tip everything into the prepared tin. Level it with the back of a spoon and chill.

Tahina, Chocolate & Postachio CheesecakeNow prepare the marbled topping. Break up the chocolate and put in a large, heatproof bowl. Add the butter, 100ml of the cream, the honey and tahina. Place over a pan of just-simmering water and leave for 5–10 minutes until the chocolate and butter have melted. Take a spoon and very gently stir everything together.

Meanwhile, put the rest of the cream, the icing sugar, orange zest, mascarpone, vanilla extract and cream cheese in a large bowl. Fold them together.

Take the melted chocolate mixture and drizzle it over the cream mixture, folding everything together until you have a marbled mixture. Spoon into the chilled cake tin, level the top and chill for 4 hours until set.

Loosen the tin and take off the paper around the edge. Slide a large fish slice under the cheesecake to loosen it and put it on a serving plate. Scatter the pistachio nuts, halva and toasted sesame seeds over the top and serve.


Feasts from the Middle East is published by HQ and is now available to buy.