A friend of mine posted a baklava cheesecake on Facebook and I was like what is this? My first impression was what an idea, but didn’t like the recipe. So I thought I would google baklava cheesecake and I guess it’s a thing now! If you follow me on social media you know that I love my baklava, so I just had to try this!
This isn’t an official recipe, it is more a follow through, story tell. If you are in the mood for reading, or you really want to try this recipe out, then sit back and enjoy, it’s a long one!
My first problem with the recipes that I found is the baklava part itself, it isn’t baklava if there is no syrup! Buttering filo and baking it like that makes it a burek! Another issue was the cinnamon and honey, I am not a fan of cinnamon or honey in baklava. Honey just has this overwhelming sweetness to it that I don’t care for in baklava, and I just detest the taste of cinnamon or any other spice in baklava.
My only issue was how am I going to do this, make baklava and bake a cheesecake in it. Probably why everyone else just uses filo and butter without the syrup, but I was determined to have my syrup!
My daughter Sara and I were thinking about how this can be successfully done, putting baklava back in the oven with the cheesecake filling didn’t seem like it would work. I didn’t want to risk it, what would happen to the syrup, and the filo may possibly burn if it bakes again. We then decided to go with a no bake filling.
I was worried that a no bake filling wouldn’t go well but it did! I had my friends and family try it and it was a hit with all! When I made it I was thinking of all the no bake filling recipes I normally use, but I didn’t have everything I needed and on a Sunday night when everything closes early I was stuck using what ever I had.
At first I creamed the cream cheese with less than 1/4 cup of sugar. I whisked some whipping cream I didn’t have a lot but the amount I used was enough, folded that in the cream cheese, then I was stuck, it wasn’t fluffy enough! What to do now, I was looking at the time on the stove top, I didn’t have many choices. I looked through my cabinet and found a instant pudding mix and voila, idea! I used half of the package and stirred in just over a half a cup of milk in a cup, turned into a thick pudding. I added the pudding to the cream cheese mixture, it turned into the perfect consistency.
I wanted to have more than just a baklava crust, a top and center would be necessary in order for it to be considered a baklava cheesecake.
The easiest way to do that was to make lady fingers or baklava rolls however you want to call them, at the bakeries they call them lady fingers. Here is a link to step by step instructions on how to make them, along with the syrup recipe. http://whenfetametolive.com/baklava-lady-fingers-step-step/
Before making this you need to make the syrup ahead of time so that it has time to cool to room temperature. Syrup needs to be cooled before pouring over the baklava.
For syrup, my go to recipe is 4 cups sugar and 2 and 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, and allow to cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. It is basically your simple syrup recipe. Add a squeeze of lemon juice when done boiling, set aside to cool.
So to put this all together, you will need to make approximately 10 rolls and use 10 sheets of filo for the crust, depending how many sheets of filo is in a box.
You will need approximately 1/2 cup of ground walnuts, 500 gr of cream cheese, less than 1/4 cup sugar, 1 cup and 1/2 sweetened whipped cream, 1/2 pkg instant vanilla pudding and between 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup milk, 1 pkg thawed filo and 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter.
To sweeten the whipping cream, while beating the whipping cream, add 1 -2 tablespoons of icing sugar (powder sugar).
When the syrup is cooling, you can start on the filling and baklava.
I used a spring form pan for this, it makes it easy to remove and to put together.
Grease pan, bottom and sides, start layering the filo, add ground walnuts in some of the layers, you will need approximately 10 sheets of filo.
Bake at 375 F until golden, about 20 minutes. Pour some syrup over the the baklava crust, I would say a cup worth, I didn’t measure, you want it to be soft like baklava, so you may add more if needed. I just pour it over with a ladle.
The crust needs to be completely cool before adding the filling. While it is baking and cooling you can make the rolls.
Follow the instructions in the link above.
You will have about 10 rolls, cut into fingers. Once they are baked you can pour some syrup over them and allow the fingers to cool.
Once the crust is cooled, I put it in the fridge for 10 minutes so that is completely cool.
For the filling, beat the cream cheese and sugar together, fold in the sweetened whipped cream, then add in the prepared pudding. Pour half the amount over the crust, sprinkle with some ground walnuts and break up some of the cooled lady finger rolls. Top with the rest of the cream cheese filling and garnish with ground walnuts and break up some of the lady finger rolls.
Refrigerate over night.
It cuts into very nicely and goes great with a strong cup of coffee, enjoy!