This delicate baklava cheesecake is a feast for the eyes as much as it is for your tastebuds! With sweet and nutty flavors and a rich and creamy filling, it’s an impressive dessert with a Middle Eastern twist.
This incredibly rich, nutty, sweet, and floral dessert is unlike any other cheesecake you’ve had. It captures the essence of traditional baklava in every bite, with layers of crushed nuts and a light and airy phyllo crust. Dressed in a sweet and nutty honey syrup, this is one dessert that will ‘wow’ all of your guests!
Why you’ll love this baklava cheesecake recipe
- Decadent dessert with Middle Eastern influence. Every layer and bite in this baklava cheesecake tastes so similar to real baklava. It’s made with a crisp phyllo crust, layers of crushed nuts underneath the cream cheese filling, and topped with honey-rose water syrup.
- A thin and crisp phyllo crust. What really sets this cheesecake apart from a more traditional cherry cheesecake or strawberry cheesecake is the crust. Layers of phyllo dough are layered on the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan. When baked, it becomes very light and crisp, just like what you would find in a piece of baklava.
- Sweet, creamy, and nutty. There’s a beautiful balance of flavors and textures here. The filling is rich and creamy, crushed nuts add an interesting soft crunch, the phyllo crust is light and crisp, and the honey syrup is floral, bright, and sweet.
- Easy to prep. Like a raspberry cheesecake, this dessert comes together in no time!
The ingredients in this cheesecake, while different from a more classic New York cheesecake, are still easy to find. This is what you need:
- Phyllo dough. This light, flaky, and airy laminated dough gives baklava its crisp bites. Here, it’s layered on the bottom and up the sides of the cheesecake to give it the same flaky texture that’s known to traditional baklava.
- Butter. Melted butter is brushed over the phyllo to give it a golden hue and prevent it from burning.
- Nuts. Walnuts, pistachios, and almonds are crushed and used as a nutty crust on top of the layer of phyllo.
- Cream cheese. Use full-fat cream cheese that’s been softened to room temperature.
- Honey. Honey is an important part of baklava recipes. Here, it sweetens the cheesecake filling and adds a subtle floral flavor.
- Eggs. Eggs give the filling a silky smooth consistency while binding all of the ingredients together.
- Vanilla extract. For flavor.
- Lemon juice. For brightness and balance.
- Honey. Used as the base of the syrup.
- Water. For the syrup.
- Rose water. This adds a light, floral flavor to the honey syrup.
- Nuts. Walnuts and pistachios are stirred into the syrup after it cools.
- Lemon juice and zest. For brightness. Orange juice and zest work, too.
How to make baklava cheesecake
While this cake is slightly different from the average cheesecake, it still comes together in a handful of simple steps. Here’s how it’s done:
1. Butter the pastry. Brush a sheet of phyllo pastry with melted butter, then fold it in half. Place it in the springform pan. Repeat this step until the bottom and sides of the pan are completely covered.
2. Make the nut mixture. Combine the walnuts, pistachios, and almonds in a large bowl. Stir in the butter until you have a coarse mixture, then press it on the phyllo pastry.
3. Make the filling. Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with the honey until it’s fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and lemon juice. Pour the cheesecake filling into the pan over the crust.
4. Bake. Bake the cheesecake until the edges are set and the middle is slightly jiggy. Place it in the fridge until it’s set.
5. Make the syrup. Add the honey, water, rose water, and half of the lemon zest/juice to a saucepan. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat. Let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes before stirring in the remaining lemon zest/juice. Set it aside to cool before stirring in the walnuts and pistachios.
6. Assemble and serve. 2 hours before serving, pour the syrup-nut topping over the top of the cheesecake. Place it back in the fridge to chill and set, then slice and serve!
Tips to make the best recipe
- To prevent the phyllo from drying out, lay a damp kitchen towel on top of the dough when you’re layering the sheets into the cake pan.
- If you don’t want to make this with the phyllo crust, use a regular graham cracker crust instead. The crusts from my peach cheesecake and coconut cheesecake will work well here.
- You’ll know the cheesecake is done baking when the phyllo is golden brown and crisp, the edges of the filling are set, and the middle still jiggles slightly.
- Let it chill. After baking, place the cheesecake in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours. Or, for the best results, leave it overnight. This will give the filling time to completely set so every bite is velvety smooth.
- For more garnish, top the cheesecake with extra crushed pistachios, lemon or orange zest, and/or edible rose petals.
To store: Once the cheesecake is assembled and set, keep it covered and in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To freeze: Store the whole cake or individual slices in airtight containers, then freeze for up to 2 months.
Recommended tools to make this recipe
- 9-inch springform pan. To assemble and bake the cheesecake.
- Electric mixer. To beat the filling ingredients into a creamy and smooth mixture.
- Chef’s knife. You need a good knife to chop the nuts finely and slice the cake.
More cheesecake recipes to try
- Healthy Cheesecake
- Chocolate Cheesecake
- Basque Cheesecake
- Mango Cheesecake
- Coconut cheesecake
- Peach Cheesecake
Frequently asked questions
This baklava cheesecake is rich and decadent, just like regular cheesecake, but is layered with savory, salty nuts, floral honey, and light and bright citrus. It has a beautiful blend of flavors!
Yes, you can use gluten free phyllo dough if you need the cake to be gluten free.
- Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and spray the sides with some cooking spray.
- Working quickly, brush the phyllo pastry with melted butter and then fold it in half. Place the pastry into the springform. Repeat until the spring form pan is completely covered.
- Combine walnuts, pistachios, and almonds in a large bowl. Add butter and stir until you have a coarse mixture. Place the nut mixture over the phyllo pastry and press firmly.
- Make the cheesecake filling; beat cream cheese with honey until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and lemon juice. Pour the filling over the crust.
- Preheat oven to 325F and bake the cake for 45 minutes. Chill the cake for 4 hours in the fridge or overnight.
- Make the topping; combine honey, water, and rose water. Add half the lemon zest. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining lemon zest and juice.
- Cool the syrup for 40 minutes and stir in walnuts and pistachios.
- Pour the topping over the cake and chill the cake for 2 hours before slicing and serving.
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