Homemade Beef Pho

homemade beef pho

One of our favorite comfort foods while living in Seattle was Pho. There was no better way to cozy up, than with a hot bowl of broth with noodles and some fresh herbs. We always had the veggie pho, as there was no halal option. But I’ve been wanting to try making my own homemade beef pho. 

amandas plate beef pho, homemade beef pho

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Lebanese Spinach Pies Fatayar

lebanese spinach pies

I have the fondest memories of warm dough filled with spinach and onions coming out of my mother and grandmothers ovens. These tasty savory pastries are called Fatayar, a Lebanese favorite. 

fah-TIE-ahr, in Arabic refers to any savory small bundle of dough with a filling. Some fatayar are filled with meat (I will share that recipe soon). 

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Homemade Sourdough Loaf

Amandas Plate sourdough

Hussein loves bread and always prefers bakery fresh bread to anything in a plastic bag in the supermarket. I’ve made quick, no-knead loafs with yeast before but really wanted to try my hand at sourdough. Many of my blogger friends had posted about Artisan Sourdough Made Simple by Emilie Raffa. I ordered the book and began my journey.

Amandas Plate sourdough recipe, Amanda's Plate sourdough

Since ordering this cookbook, I’ve made three loaves of bread (two regular sourdough and one whole wheat). Each better than the previous. Getting the techniques down is critical and a part of the bread making journey. 

The Starter

This is a labor of love

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Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto

Amanda's Plate roasted carrots

If you’re looking for an easy Thanksgiving side dish, I’ve got you covered with these Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto. I especially love this recipe, because it uses the entire carrot, end to end, including the tops, which so often get throw away. 

I first had carrot top pesto, 3 years ago, while at a dinner hosted by my friend, Lena, in her home in Portland, OR. It was a delicious condiment and I have been replicating it ever since. 


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Baklava Cheesecake Recipe

This is probably my most requested recipe. I saved this recipe for something special and that came in the form of ‘America The Great Cookbook’. 

Cheesecakes are one of the first things I learned to bake on my own. I was in 4th grade and I purchased a cookbook from the school book fair. It had a blue cover and pages and pages of recipes inside. I made the New York Style cheesecake with Strawberry Topping. It was a hit with my family and I was designed as the cheesecake baker ever since!

Amandas plate baklava cheesecake

This recipe came to life, as I was planning a dish to make for the MasterChef audition in the Fall of 2014. I wanted to make a dessert and Hussein kept insisting that my cheesecake was the best. I wanted to somehow incorporate my Lebanese heritage and was planning with phyllo dough. The first time I made this cheesecake, the baklava layer was the crust, but the two elements were baked separately and were individual size.

These cheesecake has several components. The crust, the filling, the baklava topping and the pomegranate reduction sauce (which can be made ahead). 

The Crust

The crust is a traditional graham cracker crust. Using a measuring cup, press the crumbs firmly into the pan. This will help keep the crust bound together. 

The Filling

Please be sure all of these ingredients are at room temperature to ensure a smooth filling. This takes planning, but when you are putting this much effort, you want to do things right. 

The rose water is important. It can be found in Middle Eastern stores or here:  Rose Water

The Baklava Topping

This takes the most effort. You must score the topping before placing it on the filling. This ensures you will be able to cut and serve your cheesecake after it has cooked and cooled. Placing the baklava topping onto the filling, requires extra hands (or a really big spatula). I would ask a friend or family member to help 🙂


5.0 from 1 reviews
Baklava Cheesecake Recipe
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 packages (8 ounces each ) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tabelspoons rose water
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Pinch of salt
Baklava Topping
  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 12 sheets phyllo dough, thawed if frozen
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Pomegranate Reduction
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • Mint leaves for garnish, optional
  • Candied kumquats for garnish optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is preheating, fill a baking dish with water and place it on the bottom rack of the oven. This will create steam in the oven, which will keep the cheesecake from cracking.
  2. For the crust: In a bowl stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter until evenly moistened. Using the back of a spoon or the base of a measuring cup, press the mixture onto the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
  3. For the filling: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and sugar on low speed until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the flour, rose water, cardamom and salt. Pour the batter into the graham cracker crust.
  4. For the baklava topping: in a blender (preferably a high-speed blender), combine the walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon and process until finely ground; Set aside.Cut the phyllo sheets into 9-inch rounds and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Place 1 sheet of phyllo down on your work surface and brush with melted
  5. butter. Place a second sheet of phyllo on top of the first and brush with melted butter. Repeat until you have a stack of 7 sheets of phyllo. Spread the walnut filling over the top. Cover with another sheet of phyllo and brush with melted butter. Repeat until you have used up all the phyllo.
  6. Using a very sharp knife, score the baklava topping into equal-sized pieces (think of a pizza: one cut down the middle, a second across, until you have 8 slices). Carefully place the baklava over the top of the cheesecake, making sure to place it in the center. This is best done with the help of a second pair
  7. of hands.
  8. Bake the cheesecake on the middle rack above the pan of water until the center is no longer liquid, about 55 minutes. Let cool in the oven, with the oven door open, for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool, then cover and refrigerate for 8 hours before serving.
  9. For the Pomegranate Reduction: In a small pot, heat the pomegranate juice and sugar over medium heat until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes.To serve, garnish the cheesecake with mint leaves and candied kumquats (if using), and dot some pomegranate reduction on each serving plate.


Make this recipe? I’d love to see! Please tag me @AmandasPlate #CreateAmandasPlate


Happy Baking! 










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Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Gravy

Mashed potato recipe, Amanda's Plate mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes are essential for Thanksgiving and as important as the turkey. There are so many ways to mash and season your potatoes. I like this Mashed Potato and Mushroom gravy Recipe best, as it is the perfect texture and creaminess. I use chives, lots of butter and heavy cream, salt and pepper for seasoning and of course the rich mushroom gravy to pour on top. 


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Citrus Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Amanda's Plate cranberry sauce

I L-O-V-E cranberry sauce. But not that stuff that comes out of metal jar. Yes, I know they organic cranberry sauce in cans but it is not as good as homemade.

This recipe is super easy to make and can be done two days in advance (I wouldn’t go longer, because we are making fresh cranberry sauce). My citrus spiced cranberry sauce is sure to be a favorite on your table this Thanksgiving!

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Citrus and Herb Turkey Recipe

If you’ve ever made a turkey, you know how challenging it can be. But it does not have to be. My first attempt at this Citrus and Herb Turkey Recipe was a great success. I combined recipes and techniques from Bon Apetit and New York Times Food. I learned some tricks that I share below to ensure your turkey is also a great success! 

Amanda's Plate Turkey recipe

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