For the graham cracker pine nut crust:
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 package graham crackers (9 full crackers) ground into fine crumbs (1 cup + 2 tablespoons crumbs)
4 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup sugar*
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the topping:
1/2 pound labneh
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon crumbled dried mint for sprinkling
* Feel free to reduce this to 1/4 cup.
** You can use a 9-inch round, but the cook time will be slightly shorter once you add the filling. If you’re not using a pan with a removable bottom, line the bottom of an 8-inch cake pan with a parchment round.
*** I developed this recipe with store-bought labneh, but you can use homemade. Just be sure to strain it long enough (the full 12 hours) or the cheesecake might not set correctly. Compare yours to the bowl of labneh above as a reference point.
**** You can find dried mint at most Middle Eastern markets, spice shops, and some supermarkets with a well-stocked international section. But if you can’t find it, it’s actually super easy to make at home with fresh.
† If you don’t have a convection oven, it will just take a little longer to bake all the way through. When I’ve used a conventional oven for this recipe, it’s taken about 20 minutes longer.
‡ If you’re not using a pan with a removable bottom, very very carefully invert the cake onto a wax paper-lined cutting board after chilling overnight. Immediately invert it back onto a serving plate and peel the wax off, using a knife to scrape if it isn’t releasing. The top ends up covered, so no worries.