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Baklava Cheesecake

Kraft Memeber Recipe
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Makes: 16 servings Total Time: 2 hr 30 min
Category: Desserts Sub Category: Cheesecakes

what you need
  • Cheesecake Filling
  • 32 oz. (4 boxes) regular cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup honey (use Greek thyme honey for even more flavor)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 6 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 lb. phyllo pastry, thawed
  • Baklava Topping
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup almonds, blanched
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick or a scant 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brandy (optional, but good)
make it
Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 350°F. Beat cream cheese in large bowl of mixer until light and fluffy; gradually mix in honey, lemon juice and vanilla; on low speed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each has been incorporated before adding next.

Brush 10 inch springform pan generously with melted butter. Take 1 sheet of phyllo pastry with long end facing you (cover the remainder with a sheet of plastic wrap) and brush half of sheet with melted butter; fold over unbuttered half to turn the rectangle into a square shape; brush top of phyllo with butter and place in springform pan, buttered side up, leaving a 5 inch overhang on one end; cover pan with a plastic wrap; repeat with phyllo 4 more times (using 5 sheets). Wrap remaining phyllo in plastic and refrigerate. Stir briefly through cheesecake filling and pour into crust; cover filling with pastry overhang.

Bake until pastry is light brown and cake is firm to the touch, about 50 minutes; let cool for 20 minutes and carefully remove pan sides and cool completely; refrigerate 2 days to mellow flavors (keep cake covered after the first day).

For Topping: Preheat oven to 350F; cover baking sheet with 2 sheets of parchment; coarsely grind nuts with 1 Tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Stack 10 reserved phyllo pastry sheets on work surface; set rim of 10 inch springform pan atop pastry; with a very sharp knife, cut around outside of rim through entire stack of phyllo, making 10 pastry rounds; cover with plastic wrap.

Set pan rim on prepared baking sheet; brush parchment and inside of pan rim with butter. Place 1 pastry round in pan rim and brush with butter; repeat with 4 more rounds. Spread nut mixture evenly over pastry. Top with remaining 5 rounds, brushing each with butter. Take 2-3 sheets of phyllo and carefully roll and twist longwise into thin ropes. Gently press the twists around the edge of the stack of 10 sheets to seal the stack. Brush gently with butter.

Cut pastry into 16 wedges with sharp knife (this is important as phyllo bakes up very crisp and would shatter if you tried to cut it fully baked); sprinkle lightly with water. Bake until crisp and golden, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1/3 cup sugar, water and lemon juice in heavy small saucepan over low heat, swirling pan occasionally until sugar dissolves; add cinnamon stick, increase heat and boil until syrupy, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat; when bubbles subside, stir in brandy.

Set baked pastry on cake, using a large spatula. Re-cut wedges gently and replace pan rim on cake. Pour hot syrup over. Cool 1 hour. Refrigerate for 1-6 hours. Let cake stand at room temperature at least 20 minutes before serving. Enjoy the fruit of your labors!
Notes
This cheesecake is a labor of love, but the end results are impressive and delicious. Creamy cheesecake filling held by a crisp, buttery, phyllo crust and topped with a baklava layer - fabulous! This must be made 2 days before serving.
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