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 🙂

 

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Baklava Cheesecake Recipe
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
Crust
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
Filling
  • 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
Instructions
  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! 

 

Xoxo, 

 

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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! 

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I love making big batches of my hummus and keeping it in an airtight container in the fridge for a healthy and quick snack!
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Amandas Plate pumpkin spice pecan muffins

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 MuffinsAmanda's Plate 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!

Amanda's Plate pumpkin spice muffins

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! 

Pumpkin Spice Pecan Muffins
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 dozen
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoon vanilla bean pasta or vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted
Crumble
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter, unsalted
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Prep baking tins by spraying with non stick spray or lining with cupcake liners
  3. Make crumble my mixing melted butter, flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar and pecans. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.
  5. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, vegetable oil, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. *Do NOT over mix*
  7. Gently fold in toasted pecans
  8. Divide muffin mix evenly between 12 cavities
  9. Sprinkle over the crumble and press down into the muffins
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean
  11. Allow to cool on a wire rack
  12. Enjoy 🙂

 You can use 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice inlace of the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. You can also make these muffins without the crumble topping, but I highly recommend it 😀

Make this dish? I’d love to see it! Tag me using #CreateAmandasPlate or @AmandasPlate

Xoxo, 

 

Amanda

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