Food & Drink Magazine

Baklava Cheesecake

By Creativeculinary @CreativCulinary

Baklava Cheesecake with Pistachios and Honey Syrup is an amazing blend of two favorites; a luscious cheesecake and rich, crispy baklava pastry.

Baklava Cheesecake

My decision to make a Baklava Cheesecake with Pistachios and Honey Syrup was initially inspired by the fact that my local grocery store decided that Phyllo Dough was a good substitution for Puff Pastry in an order that was delivered to my home.

They are not interchangeable and even I find this hard to believe; I had never purchased phyllo dough before! I had long wanted to make Baklava but it seemed far more difficult than it is and the warning about not letting the dough dry out convinced me it was a hassle. Neither were true!

I had a moment of thinking I would finally make Baklava and publish it here, but then thought WHY? Lots and lots of recipes, many from Greek authors and I simply decided there was no need to put another recipe into the mix when the pros had published plenty to choose from.

Those pros include Peter Minaki who is a chef and cooking instructor who blogs at Kalofagas; take a peek at his Baklava if you're interested in giving an authentic recipe a try. If you already love Greek food or if you're ready to jump in, Peter's site is a gem; everything looks absolutely divine.

Peter even let me use his photo for the depiction of the phyllo in a springform pan in my recipe instructions; I could not find mine on my phone and was verklempt. No surprise, a Canadian came to the rescue. A Greek Canadian to be exact; thanks Peter!

Baklava Cheesecake

That being said I honestly don't remember what had me think about combining Baklava with cheesecake. Did I spy a tray full of cream cheese in the fridge and get the notion. Possibly? But I was on to something that sounded amazing and I was certain was unique. Well it was certainly amazing but unique? Not so much!

Lot of recipes, lots of variations, and while I have made some modifications I decided best to follow Peter's lead; his looked fabulous and was a good start for me.

His recipe sounded straightforward but I did make a couple of revisions. None to the base which I trusted but I wanted to try a couple of different things in putting it together.

For instance, Peter put all of the nut component on the bottom of the cheesecake, I decided I wanted to split it between the top and bottom.

He urges you to use Greek honey...easier for him than for me; I wouldn't have a clue where to find Greek honey, so I made a honey syrup. I also did not include the rosewater Peter suggests...I didn't have any of that either!

Maybe the biggest difference was in the top of the cheesecake. I did use Peter's directions on placing the phyllo in the bottom of the springform pan with extra left hanging over the edge and that is what is used to cover the filling before baking too. But I was still dying for something a bit more dramatic.

Maybe the most difficult part of this recipe is how to describe what I did on top. I opened up a couple of pieces of dough, brushed them with melted butter and lightly scrunched each piece together somewhat in the shape of a ball but not constrained or smooth at all; each structure went on about a fourth of the cheesecake. They were light and airy and resulted in a puffy and crisp topping.

Was it necessary? Probably not, but it did offer a pretty visual for the finished Baklava Cheesecake and of course who could fault some additional pieces of that beautiful crispy phyllo dough drizzled with honey syrup?

Baklava Cheesecake

This was so amazing that I did something very untypical for me. Normally I love to share whenever I make a special dessert and I usually invite one or two families on my street over to help me enjoy a special treat. I call them my 'eaters' but they are first and foremost my friends.

I'm always happy to enjoy a slice and have the rest gone so I don't have cheesecake for breakfast for a week. So, OK, I gave most away but not before I squirreled away a nice size piece for me and put it in the back of my fridge, hidden to the world!

Maybe not my normal routine with dessert, but what a delight to wake up in the morning, fix my coffee, and remember this decadence in the fridge. The heck with fruit and yogurt; I wanted cheesecake!

I have always loved this recipe for a Lemon Cheesecake; I'm not one to want a bunch of candy thrown all over my cheesecake. This one though? I can honestly say it's moved into a tie; such a perfect combination of sweet and creamy cheesecake and a touch of lemon with that wonderful crispy and nutty baklava component.

The Baklava Cheesecake base is kept from being too sweet with the use of Greek yogurt and a touch of lemon; it's a nice balance to the sweeter crust made with nuts and the honey syrup which is used in both the crust and as a garnish drizzled onto the entire dessert.

I have so many things I want to make that I seldom do something twice...but not this. I want another one RIGHT NOW! I know you will get it. It's an amazing dessert!

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