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Honey Cheesecake with Baklava Crust

Begin this recipe a day ahead or early in the day.
Course Sweets
Cuisine Middle Eastern/Mediterranean
Keyword baklava, cheesecake
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
chill time 6 hours
Total Time 8 hours
Servings 8 servings
Calories 771kcal

Equipment

  • 9" springform pan
  • sharp knife

Ingredients

Baklava Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger optional
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom optional
  • 16 ounce package phyllo dough, thawed (you'll only use half of the package or 1 roll)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter melted

Honey-Lemon Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (save the peel for zesting later)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Honey Cheesecake

  • 4 8 ounce packages cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup honey fluid
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch

Instructions

Assemble the Baklava Crust

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F.
    In a small bowl, use your hand to combine the chopped nuts, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom. Set the nuts aside. 
  • Unroll one roll of the phyllo dough from the box. Place the insert of your cheesecake pan on top of the stack of phyllo sheets and use a very sharp knife to cut the phyllo into a circle.
    Wrap the scraps in plastic wrap and store in them in the fridge to use later. 
  • Using a pastry brush, brush a thin layer of melted butter onto the bottom of the cheesecake pan. Place a circle of phyllo dough onto the buttered insert. Brush the phyllo with another thin layer of butter, then place a second layer of dough onto the first. Brush this layer of dough with butter.
    Repeat this process with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th layers of dough. 
  • After brushing the 5th layer of phyllo with butter, sprinkle this layer with a 1/2 cup of nuts. Spread the nuts into an even layer over the surface of the phyllo disc. 
    Repeat the process of layering and buttering the phyllo dough until you have three layers of nuts.
    You should have: 5 layers of dough, 1/2 cups of nuts, 5 layers of dough, 1/2 cup of nuts, 5 layers of dough, the last of the nuts, and the remaining dough. Use up all the dough that's left for the top of the baklava.
    Brush the top layer of dough with butter. 

Bake the Baklava

  • After the baklava has been assembled, carefully place the pan's insert inside the collar. Make sure to shut the collar's clamp.
    Press the dough down to make sure it's sits in the bottom of the pan. Use a sharp knife to score the dough in a diamond pattern.
    Bake the baklava in the preheated oven 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Prepare the Honey Syrup

  • While the baklava is baking, stir together the granulated sugar and the water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture up to a boil, stirring constantly to encourage the sugar to dissolve.
  • Once the sugar is dissolved, reduce the heat to low and stir in the honey, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.
    Allow the syrup to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. 
  • The syrup will thicken slightly and no granules of sugar should remain. Set the syrup to the side for now. 

Finish the Baklava Crust

  • Once the crust has finished baking, remove it from the oven and immediately pour half of the syrup over the hot baklava. Save the rest of the syrup for pouring over the finished Honey Cheesecake later. 
    Allow the pan to cool, then wrap the bottom and sides in two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. Set the pan aside while you mix the cheesecake batter. 

Mix the Honey Cheesecake Batter

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil for the water bath which you'll bake the cheesecake in.
    Set out a pan that is large enough to hold the cheesecake pan with at least a 1 1/2" space between the two pans.
  • In a large mixing bowl, blend together the cream cheese, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt on medium speed until smooth. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and beaters. 
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, to the mixture, scraping down the bowl and beaters after each egg has been mixed in. Blend the batter for 3 minutes on medium-low speed.
  • Pour the honey into the batter and mix until it is fully incorporated.
    Scrape the bowl and beaters once again, then add the cornstarch to the batter. Blend the cornstarch into the batter, on low speed, just until it's mixed in. Don't over-mix the batter once the cornstarch has been added. 

Bake and Glaze the Honey Cheesecake

  • Pour the prepared Honey Cheesecake batter onto the baklava crust.
    Set the foil-wrapped pan into the larger pan, then pour the boiling water into the outer (larger) pan.
  • Carefully place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour. 
    Optional Decoration: After an hour of baking, carefully furl the reserved phyllo dough scraps into waves and arrange them on top of the cheesecake.
    Continue to bake the cheesecake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the phyllo dough is golden brown. 
  • Once the topping has browned, pull the oven rack out and pour the remaining honey syrup over the surface of the cheesecake.
    If you chose not to decorate the surface, just pull the oven rack out and douse the cheesecake in that remaining honey-lemon syrup.
  • Push the rack with the cheesecake on it back into the oven, then turn the oven off and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon.
    Allow the cheesecake to cool gradually for 1 hour. 

Chill the Cheesecake Thoroughly

  • Remove the pan from the oven after the cheesecake has cooled for an hour.
    Carefully remove the cheesecake from the water-filled pan, then remove and discard the foil.
  • Allow the cheesecake to cool completely on the countertop, then transfer it to the refrigerator to cool for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight).
    Once completely chilled, serve using a very sharp knife to cut through the decorative layer of phyllo dough and down through the baklava crust. 
  • Store any leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator. Press wax or parchment paper against any exposed sections of cheesecake to keep it from growing crusty or dried out.

Nutrition

Calories: 771kcal | Carbohydrates: 116g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 136mg | Sodium: 468mg | Potassium: 211mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 78g | Vitamin A: 513IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 3mg