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
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!
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!
It’s pumpkin spice season and you either absolutely love it or you don’t. Pumpkin spice is no longer limited to pies and lattes; they now flavor cough drops with pumpkin spice. Yes, they really do exist. :D. I used this blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger, to create my Pumpkin Spice Pecan Muffins!
I have memories of the pumpkin candies my grandmother makes. She would buy the biggest pumpkins available and boil them, simmer them in sugar and dry them out.
I was afraid of them as a kid. The only “pumpkin-y” thing I wanted to eat was pumpkin pie and this candy did not resemble a pie. But then I tried it! And to my surprise I loved it!
When making these muffins, the batter will be thick. It is really important not to over mix it. I highly recommend using parchment muffin liners by Paperchef. You can purchase them here
It is also really important to check the dates on your baking soda and baking powder. Baking soda is good for baking for six months, once the container has been opened. Baking powder is good for about 9 months. I always write the date I opened the containers with a sharpie, to ensure my baked good turn out!
I love figs. They’re deliciously sweet and packed with flavor. They’re also really good for you and make a great addition to desserts. I made this salted caramel fig chocolate cake before baby Hannah came into the world, but did not have a chance to share it until now. I used mission figs from Melissa’s Produce. But any fig will work 🙂
Over a month ago, I posted a snapchat photo of a smoothie I had made for Hussein and I and several of you had asked for the recipe! It is simple to put together and is packed with nutrients. This easy strawberry pineapple smoothie makes a great breakfast or snack!
As we settle into parenthood and our new lives with our dear, sweet baby girl, Hannah, smoothies and quick nutrient and protein packed breakfasts are a must!
I have raved about my love for Chobani Non-fat Greek Yogurt several times before. It has a ton of protein, is low calorie and tastes delicious. We use it almost exclusively in our smoothies.
Eid is just around the corner and I love sharing treats as a gift! My friend Summar at the The Cozy Home Chronicles had the idea to create a unicorn marshmallow recipe and a Eid gift tag. Head over to her site for a free download!
I love making homemade marshmallows. It is so simple and gratifying to make a novelty item. With the Unicorn craze, these pink, blue and purple swirled treats are the perfect party or celebration food. While my marshmallows are vanilla flavored, you may want to purchase a cotton candy oil to really achieve the unicorn yumminess. 😀
I have made variations of sfouf, a traditional semolina turmeric cake on my blog before. From cupcakes and now this Turmeric Cake Honey Buttercream recipe. Because the holy month of Ramadan is upon us, I wanted to share a fun cake to enjoy with family. Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic Lunar calendar, in which Muslims around the world, who are of age and good health, fast from sun rise to sun set. This means refraining from food and drink, and all of our bad habits. Those who are exempt from fasting include children and the elderly, those who are ill, pregnant, nursing and menstruating.
Ramadan is a time of reflection, spirituality and connecting to God. It is a time to give in charity and spend time with family and friends. During this holy month, the Quran (holy book for Muslims) was revealed to the Propher Mohamed (peace be upon him). Many muslims strive to read the entire Quran during this month, as a form of worship and reflection and a way to connect to our prophet and Lord.
This is the month in which Iftar, the time of breaking fast, is generally spent with family and community. I created this cake as a special dessert to celebrate!
As I get into a new routine with my job, I am getting on more of a schedule for blogging. I hope to share my take on favorite holiday cookies!
When I was growing up, my aunt and uncle lived just a few homes down from us. We spent winter break baking holiday cookies to share with our cousins on Christmas Eve. One of the cookies we made were snickerdoodles! As a child, the name made me smile 😀 I created my Cinnamon Cardamom Snickerdoodles last winter, when I was experimenting with cardamom pods.