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Baklava Cheesecake

Author/Submitted by:
Servings: 10
Categories: Cheesecakes / Desserts / Nuts


------------Cream Cheese Filling----------
32  ounces  Cream cheese, room temp
1  cup  Honey
1/4  cup  Lemon juice, fresh
2  teaspoons  Vanilla
6    Eggs, room temperature
1/3  cup  Butter, clarified
1  pound  Phyllo pastry, (sheets)

-----------------Baklava Topping----------
1/2  cup  Walnuts
1/3  cup  Almonds, blanched
1  tablespoon  Sugar
1  tablespoon  Cinnamon
1/2  cup  Butter, clarified
1/3  cup  Sugar
1/4  cup  Water
1  tablespoon  Lemon juice, fresh
1    Cinnamon stick
1  tablespoon  Brandy, (opt)

1. Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Beat cream cheese in large bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually, mix in honey, then lemon juice and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time until just incorporated. Set aside.

2. Brush 10" springform pan with clarified butter. Arrange 1 phyllo sheet with long edge parallel to edge of surface (cover other sheets with dampened towel). Brush left half of sheet with butter and fold right half over. Brush top with butter. Place in prepared pan, buttered side up, leaving a 5" overhang on one end. Cover with another dampened towel. Butter and fold second sheet and arrange in pan, overlapping first sheet by 3". Repeat with 4 more sheets, covering entire pan. Wrap remaining phyllo in plastic and refrigerate.

3. Stir through filling and pour into crust. Cover filling with overhanging ends of phyllo at edge of pan. Bake until pastry is light brown and cake is firm to the touch, about 50 minutes. Remove pan sides. Using a toothpick, poke 12 holes in top of cake to allow heat to escape. Cool completely on rack. Refrigerate 2 days to mellow flavors, covering after the first day.

4. For topping, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover baking sheet with 2 pieces of parchment. Coarsely grind all nuts with 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Stack 10 reserved phyllo pastry sheets on work surface. Set rim of 10" springform pan atop pastry . Cut around inside of rim through entire stack. Using a sharp knife, make 10 rounds. Cover with damp towel.

5. Set pan rim on prepared baking sheet. Brush parchment and inside of pan rim with butter. Place 1 pastry round in pan rim and brush with butter. Repeat with 4 more rounds. Spread nut mixture evenly over pastry. Top with remaining 5 rounds, brushing each with butter. Using ruler as guide, cut pastry into 16 wedges with sharp knife. Sprinkle lightly with water. Bake until crisp and golden, about 30 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, heat 1/2 cup sugar, water and lemon juice in heavy small saucepan over low heat, swirling pan occasionally until sugar dissolves. Add cinnamon stick, increase heat and boil until syrupy, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. When bubbles subside, stir in brandy, if desired. Flatten pastry atop cake. Remove pan rim from topping. Set topping on cake, using large spatula. Recut wedges.

7. Replace pan rim on cake. Pour on hot syrup. Cool 1 hour. Refrigerate 1 to 6 hours. Let cake stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.

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