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!
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 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.
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 🙂
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
1 cup walnut pieces
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
12 sheets phyllo dough, thawed if frozen
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup pomegranate juice
¼ cup granulated sugar
Mint leaves for garnish, optional
Candied kumquats for garnish optional
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
I absolutely love hummus. It is a staple in our home and kitchen and I have shared many different variations of this smashed chickpea dip! My super smooth hummus is a favorite. This recipe is for my avocado hummus and zaatar chips recipe.
I love making big batches of my hummus and keeping it in an airtight container in the fridge for a healthy and quick snack!
I love butternut squash. After living in Seattle for 5 years, and experiencing the farmer’s markets, I learned to cook seasonally. This butternut squash penne pasta dish is the perfect homage to my time there. It is really easy to make and with my roasted technique, you do not have to peel the squash!
I don’t often admit this, but I was a picky eater as a child and young adult. For some reason, I did not like soup (I think it was the texture?).
What are the foods you did not like as a kid, that you now enjoy? I’d love to hear about the transition from dislike to like 😀
I created this soup last fall, when I had a surplus of butternut squash on hand. I decided to roast the squash before pureeing to enhance the sweet notes of the squash. By roasting the squash whole, you don’t have to peel it or dice it first!
This soup doubles nicely and can be kept in the freezer in an airtight container (stores up to 2 months), for those busy, cold weeknights!
While this recipe is vegetarian, it can also be made vegan, by omitting the heavy cream. You can substitute the cream for more vegetable broth. 🙂
There are a number of toppings you can add to this soup! My favorites are fried sage, as it adds a deep, earthy flavor and homemade croutons!
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut butternut squash length wise and remove the seeds. Drizzle each half with olive oil. Place the squash flesh side down and roast in the oven for 40 minutes.
After the squash has roasted for 20 minutes, place the onion, red bell pepper and garlic cloves on the baking pan. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil.
When the squash is tender and the onion, bell pepper and garlic are cooked thru, remove from the oven. Peel the skin off the squash.
If using a blender, as I did, place the squash, onion, pepper, garlic, vegetable broth, nutmeg, salt and pepper in the blender and puree until smooth. Lastly, add the heavy cream and blend until evenly incorporated.
Transfer the soup into a pot and heat thru.
Serve with fried sage, goat cheese, croutons, a drizzle of oil and pomegranate.
Note: if using an emersion blender, place the vegetable stock, cream, squash, onions and garlic in a pot. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg, and blend until smooth.
Make this dish? I’d love to see! Tag me @AmandasPlate or using #CreateAmandasPlate
An absolute favorite summer treat are Smores! But the traditional store bought version can get boring (at least for me). I’ve been making my own marshmallows for 2 years now and I love have the versatility in this homemade confection. When I learned of the Feed Feed and Ghirardellis smore contest, I wanted to create my homemade churro smores!
This dessert does take some effort, but it is TOTALLY worth it! You really can’t get any better than sandwiching a gooey, toasted marshmallow in between a fried sweet dough thats rolled in cinnamon sugar! Also, don’t forget the chocolate. I used a salted caramel dark chocolate in these smores, but feel free to use whatever it is you like 🙂
One of my favorite salads on a hot summer day, is this refreshing cucumber mint yogurt salad. This recipe is a traditional Lebanese dish, typically served as part of a Mezze plater. It is called ‘Khayr bi Laban’, which translates to cucumbers in yogurt. The traditional yogurt used is laban, but I prefer the greek yogurt, to provide more protein 😀
Growing up in our family owned grocery store, I had a unique opportunity to learn about different fruits and vegetables. I saw many customers purchasing the green tomatoes we had on display and often wondered what they would be making with them and so I asked! I learned about fried green tomatoes and had to try it myself.
I gathered the ingredients and set out to make this traditionally Southern Dish.
Beef Wellington has become closely tied to MasterChef and Gordon Ramsay. I’ve created my own Beef Wellington Recipe using Crescent Foods All Natural Angus Beef.
I love using Crescent Foods, free range, grass fed and finished beef! All Crescent Foods products are humanely treated and hand harvested Halal. The all natural beef, means five times more minerals and vitamins. It is also antibiotic and hormone free.
During this past Ramadan, my sister Deana invited us over for a taco Tuesday iftar. She made these incredible coconut shrimp tacos, that Hussein and I could not stop talking about. We enjoyed them so much that I had to have the recipe. I’m so excited to share Deana’s coconut shrimp taco recipe.
The shrimp tacos are paired with a cabbage and mango slaw and topped with a chipotle honey cream sauce! And its the perfect blend of sweet, spice, acidity. The slaw and radish adds the perfect fresh crunch.