Thursday, April 26, 2018

Baklava Cheesecake, the Best of Two Worlds

It's been a while since I posted a recipe, that's why I wanted to come back with a dessert recipe that kind of justifies my absence. The decision was prompted after Foodies+ community on Google+ announced its theme of the month: food fusion. 

I had a recipe idea in mind but I never made it and I just kept postponing it. The Foodies+ theme was the perfect occasion I have been waiting for.  

The baklava cheesecake is a winning fusion recipe in my book and it does justice to both recipes it is based on. It has all creaminess you would expect from any self-respecting cheesecake and all the nutty crunchiness of baklava. The sugar syrup with its fragrant orange and rose water notes helps of the dessert elements to come together happily!

Balava fillings are nut based. The most common ones are pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews and pistachios. I could have used any of these for the recipe as they are all delicious, but I used pistachios because I like its subtle flavor and its lovely green color contrasts the cheesecake's pale yellow hues. If you don't like pistachios, you can use the nuts of your choice.  

There are few steps to make this baklava cheesecake; nothing too complicated but it needs a bit more of your time.

 For the base (18cm springform pan) you need: 
  • 4 to 8 filo pastry sheets (depending on the size of the sheets)
  • 50 g melted butter
First, brush each filo sheet with butter and lay in the greased springform. 

You can simply stack the sheets on top of each other. Alternatively, you can fold each one into thirds, put the first layer in the middle, then put the other folded sheet on top to form a cross and cover the rest of the pan with more folded sheets. 

You need to put enough pastry to cover the pan and have a strong base to hold the cheesecake filling. You can add more sheets if you like but keep it moderate.  Don´t forget to brush each sheet generously with butter, then trim the excess edges but leave some hanging on the sides of the pan.

Bake in a preheated  oven (180C) for about 15 min or until golden brown.

For the syrup:
  • 150 g sugar
  • 100 g water
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • few drops of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • 2 to 3 dried rose buds (optional) 
  • 1 tsp rose water
Combine sugar, water, cinnamon and rose buds, and simmer over a gentle heat. Once the sugar is melted and the mix bubbles, add the lemon juice and simmer for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and add the rose and orange blossom waters.

For the pistachio filling:
  • 100 g chopped pistachios
  • 30 g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (adjust to your taste)
  • 15 g syrup 
Mix everything together until you get a wet mixture and spread it over the baked and cooled filo pastry base and set aside.

For the cheesecake filling:
  • 600 g cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature 
  • 100 g sour cream or thick yogurt
  • 120 g sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn flour 
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or to your liking)
  • 15 g of syrup
In your mixer bowl, add the cheese and mix on a low speed with the paddle attachment for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the sugar, the sour cream, cinnamon, salt, syrup, corn flour, rose and orange blossom water and mix again until well blended and no lumps are visible. Add the eggs one by one and keep mixing on a low speed and scrap the sides of the bowl from time to time. 
When everything is combined, pour the batter over the filo and pistachio layer and bake in a preheated oven (150 to 160 C). 

Usually it's customary to wrap the spring-form pan with aluminum foil and place it in another pan filled with warm water and then bake for the required time that is usually for a pan of this size one hour to one hour and a half (oven-dependent).  This bain-marie method of cooking is needed to bake your cake at a gentler heat to avoid surface cracks.

What I do is different though. I put in the middle layer of the oven a pan and fill it with warm water then place the cheesecake pan over a cookie sheet and put both over the pan. This creates  a steamy environment in my oven and allows the cheesecake to cook all the way through while retaining a smooth creamy texture and most importantly with no surface cracks whatsoever.

After one hour, turn off your oven, shake the tray, make sure the middle is still a bit wiggly and leave the oven door cracked open for another half an hour to an hour. 

Let the cake cool completely before you put it in the fridge overnight. 

Decorate to your liking. Slice the cheesecake, drizzle some syrup on top and enjoy! 


  1. Pure genius! I just love the whole combination, it has everything I love, from the filo, to the nuts to the cheese, to the syrup! Ok, everything! Definitely going to lab this one day, maybe during Ramadan, when I can afford the calories. No wonder I put on weight when fasting, unlike other people!

    1. LOL, thank you dear! You work hard so you deserve ¨these calories¨ and more, plus you´re gorgeous and you don´t need to worry about calories