I've had this cheesecake in my head for over 5 months now. I was convinced it was a good idea. After tweaking it a few times, turns out, it is. I have changed the garnishes quite a bit since this picture (for the better), but the cheesecake is about the same.
The pics don't do this justice, it was really fantastic! You could taste both the honey and cinnamon in the cheesecake, which complimented the walnuts in the crust. And, the honey brushed baklava provided just enough sweet crunch to remind you of baklava. Overall, I'd say this is a pleasant end to the experiment. The only thing I missed was the sticky bottom layer!
This was really good! The nuts and sugar in the crust reminded me of baklava, while the cheesecake itself had a cinnamon honey taste that complimented it perfectly. I chose not to add nuts to the cheesecake itself. I wanted to leave that rich and creamy.
For a PDF of the recipe, click here. Enjoy!
Baklava inspired cheesecake
Walnut sugar mixture (used for the crust as well as a topping):
4 cups walnuts
1 ½ cups sugar
2 t. cinnamon
¼ c. water
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine walnuts, sugar, and water. Bring to boil over medium high heat, and cook until you smell a light walnut smell and sugar has been dissolved. Take off heat and add cinnamon. Spread mixture on parchment paper to cool. Once completely cool, chop walnuts. Use ½ for crust, and reserve ½ for topping cheesecake.
½ of walnut sugar mixture (if you don’t want to make this, you can combine 2 cups walnuts, chopped, ½ ½ c. sugar, and 1 t. cinnamon)
1 ½ cups vanilla wafer crumbs (this is about 1/3 box)
6 T. butter, melted
Combine all ingredients and press into 9” spring form pan. This mixture is a bit sticky, so it will take some time.
32 oz cream cheese (that’s 4 8oz bricks), softened to room temperature
1 ½ cups honey
½ cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon (approx. 1 t.)
1 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1/3 c. cornstarch
Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, whip cream cheese until fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add honey, and sugar, mixing well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add lemon zest, salt, cinnamon, and cornstarch, mix for 1-2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.
Pour over crust, and bake at 350 for 75-90 minutes, until middle of the cheesecake is only slightly jiggly when the pan is gently shaken back and forth. Remove from oven, and let cool on counter, at least 4 hours. If not serving immediately, place in refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before serving.
Garnish with whipped cream, phyllo triangles, and cinnamon candied walnuts before serving.
For the phyllo garnish:
10 phyllo sheets
4 T. butter, melted and cooled
2-3 T. honey, warmed 10sec in microwave
Work with one sheet of phyllo at a time. Brush ½ the sheet with butter. Fold in ½. Repeat twice (so you have 8 layers), and cut into triangles. Bake at 350 for 5-6 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and quickly brush generously with honey. Let cool, and store in airtight container.