Everyone loves Baklava but sometimes you want to go a little further with your dessert. That’s where this simple Cheesecake Baklava recipe comes in! It has all the flavors and textures of a Baklava but is also combined with the best parts of a cheesecake! Easy to make and eye-catching for a pastry, it is a fantastic take on a classic dessert.
So read along to discover my mouthwatering recipe, step by step photos and tips and tricks to make this little delight to perfection!
What is Cheesecake Baklava?
Baklava is a traditional dessert that is made with filo pastry, chopped nuts infused with aromatic Greek spices and soaked in a sweet syrup made with honey. It is a classic Greek dessert but its flavours also make for a great cheesecake idea.
So I took my traditional baklava recipe, deconstructed it to its key elements and flavours and recombined them to create this beautifully creamy cheesecake! It is light, airy, aromatic without being overly sweet. In other words, it is the perfect baklava cheesecake!
- Inspired by a classic: The cheesecake has all the key flavors and textures of a Baklava. The crunchiness of the phyllo, the aromas of Baklava spices, the nuttiness of its base, together with that deliciously light honey syrup that brings it all together!
- Easy to make: There are a few ingredients needed to make this but they are all things you’ll find in most stores and the recipe is super simple to follow.
Baklava Cheesecake Key Ingredients
To make your Baklava Cheesecake you’ll need:
- For the baklava base: This combines digestive biscuits with a mix of nuts, ground cinnamon and cloves as well as butter to bind it together.
- For the cheesecake layer: Full fat cream cheese is the basic ingredient with some double cream added along with runny honey and lemon juice.
- For the syrup: The syrup for the Cheesecake baklava is made from sugar, orange zest, lemon juice and runny honey with a little ground cinnamon.
- To top it off: Finally, butter, filo pastry and mixed nuts are used to top the baklava cheesecake.
Tip: You can also add a splash of orange blossom water if you can get it. It adds a beautiful floral element to the syrup but if you aren’t a fan of floral flavors, you can simply leave it out.
Key Preparation Tips
There are five main steps involved in making this Baklava cheesecake recipe:
- Make the cheesecake base
- Make the cheesecake layer
- Make the Baklava syrup
- Make the topping
- Assemble the cheesecake
Make the cheesecake base
Transfer the biscuits to a plastic freezer bag and hold the top securely. Bash the biscuits with a rolling pin until they are reduced to crumbs.
Next, add the nuts to a food processor and blitz under finely chopped. Add with the biscuit crumbs to a bowl and stir.
Melt the butter and mix it with the biscuit and nuts mix then stir in the spices and salt.
Take a 21cm / 8 inch tin with a loose bottom and spray or brush with a neutral oil or cooking spray. Line the base and sides with parchment paper then press the biscuit mixture firmly into the bottom. Pop in the refrigerator to chill while making the cheesecake layer.
Make the cheesecake layer
Add the cream cheese, honey and lemon juice to a bowl and beat together until smooth.
In another bowl, whisk the cream until stiff. Fold into the cream cheese mixture, one-third at a time until it is thoroughly combined.
Scrape the cheesecake mix on top of the base, ensuring you reach all of the corners and the mix is as smooth as possible. Pop in the refrigerator to chill for at least 8 hours or ideally overnight.
Make the Baklava cheesecake syrup
Combine the sugar, 1 1/2 tbsp water, orange zest, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and cinnamon in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until all of the sugar has dissolved.
Remove the pan from the heat. Add the honey and orange blossom water, if using, to the pot. Leave it cool fully.
Make the topping for the Baklava cheesecake
To make the baklava cheesecake topping, warm the butter in a small saucepan until it is completely melted. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C or 350 degrees F.
Add parchment paper to a baking tray then roughly tear up a sheet of filo pastry and add to it. Once the butter has cooled enough to touch, pour it over the filo pastry and mix to coat it with your hands, making sure the pastry doesn’t form into clumps.
Bake until the pastry pieces are golden, usually around 10 minutes. Roughly chop the nuts.
Assemble the Baklava Cheesecake
To make the cheesecake, use the spring release on the tin then grab a fish slice or similar utensil and slide it off the metal bottom, removing the parchment paper as you do. Then place the cake onto a serving platter and remove the parchment paper from the side.
Tip: If the cheesecake looks a bit rough around the edges and you want to smarten it up, take a palette knife and run it under hot water for a few moments. Dry it off and use it to smooth any rough edges.
Finish by spooning the syrup over the top then scatter the nuts and add the filo pastry shards, giving the Baklava cheesecake as much height as possible.
If you can’t get digestive biscuits or just aren’t a fan, Graham crackers make a great alternative for the cheesecake base.
Also, you can use frozen filo pastry for this recipe and allow it to defrost completely before you cook it. Don’t be tempted to substitute it for puff pastry or other styles of pastry as it simply won’t work properly.
Making ahead of time and storing
Ideally, finish the baklava cheesecake when you are ready to serve it. Otherwise, the syrup will soak into the cake and it will not have the same flavor impact as when it is fresh.
You can store the leftover cheesecake in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. You may want to save a little syrup to add on top, freshening it up when you come to serve.
This Baklava cheesecake is ideally served on its own with a side of traditional Greek Coffee! However if you want to make it more glamorous, you could add a little whipped cream on the side or a big scoop of some vanilla ice cream.
Similar recipes to try
If you love a traditional syrupy greek desert, the below recipes are made for you! Enjoy!
- Traditional Greek Baklava Recipe with Walnuts and Honey
- Greek baklava rolls recipe (Saragli)
- Chocolate Souffle in Baklava Pouches recipe
- Galaktoboureko with Kataifi (Greek Custard and shredded phyllo pie)
- Homemade Kataifi recipe
- Greek Ekmek Kataifi recipe (Custard and whipped cream pastry with syrup)
- Greek Yogurt Cake Soaked in Syrup Recipe (Yiaourtopita)
- Karidopita/Karithopita recipe (Greek Walnut Cake with Syrup)
- Greek Ravani / Revani recipe (Coconut cake with syrup)
- Traditional Greek Galaktoboureko recipe (Greek Custard Pie with Syrup)
- Loukoumades recipe (Greek Donuts with Honey and Walnuts)
- Orange cake with syrup – Portokalopita
- Samali – Semolina cake with mastic syrup
Everyone loves Baklava but sometimes you want to go a little further with your dessert. That’s where this simple Cheesecake Baklava recipe comes in! It has all the flavors and textures of a Baklava but is also combined with the best parts of a cheesecake.
For the Cheesecake Baklava Base
- 100g digestive biscuits (3 1/2 oz)
- 80g mix of almonds, pistachios and walnuts (2 3/4 oz)
- 80g butter (2 3/4 oz)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- a pinch ground cloves
- a pinch of salt
For the Cheesecake Baklava Layer
- 400g full fat cream cheese, at room temperature (14 oz)
- 1 tbsp runny honey
- 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 200ml double cream, at room temperature (heavy cream or whipping cream) (7 oz)
For the Syrup
- 30g granulated sugar (1 oz)
- zest of 1/4 orange
- squeeze fresh lemon juice
- pinch ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp runny honey
- splash orange blossom water (optional)
For the Topping
- 25g butter (3/4 oz)
- 2–3 x sheets filo pastry
- 35g mix of almonds, pistachios and walnuts (1 1/4 oz)
For the Cheesecake Baklava Base
- To make this delicious cheesecake baklava start by preparing the base first. To make the base, transfer the biscuits to a plastic freezer bag and, holding the top closed securely, bash into crumbs with a rolling pin. Blitz the nuts until finely chopped in a food processor, and transfer both mixtures to a bowl, stirring until combined.
- Gently melt the butter and mix it into the biscuit mix, followed by the spices and the salt.
- Spray or brush a 21 cm / 8 inch loose bottomed tin with neutral oil or cooking spray and line both the base and sides with baking parchment. Press the biscuit mix firmly into the bottom to create an even base. Chill while you make the cheesecake layer.
For the Cheesecake Baklava Layer
- Beat together the cream cheese, honey and lemon juice with a wooden spoon until smooth.
- In a separate bowl whisk the cream until stiff. Working in thirds, gently fold the cream mixture into the cheesecake mix until uniform.
- Scrape the cheesecake mix onto the base, making sure you get it in all the corners, working to get the mixture as smooth and even on top as possible. Chill for at least 8 hours, or preferably overnight.
For the Syrup
- To make the syrup, combine the sugar with 1 1/2 tbsp of water, the orange zest, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and the cinnamon in a small saucepan. Set over a medium high heat and stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey and orange blossom water, if using. Leave to cool completely.
For the Topping
- To make the baklava topping, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius / 350 fahrenheit, and gently melt the butter in a small saucepan.
- Line a baking tray with baking parchment and roughly tear the filo sheet onto it. Once the butter is cool enough to touch, pour it over the filo and mix it all together with your hands, scrunching and separating the filo pieces to cover the sheet in rough shards.
- Bake for 10 minutes until the filo pieces are golden. Meanwhile, roughly chop the nuts.
- To assemble the cheesecake, carefully remove the spring release on the tin and using a fish slice carefully slide the cheesecake off the metal bottom and remove the sheet of baking parchment underneath. Transfer to a serving platter, removing the parchment around the sides of the cheesecake.
- Spoon the syrup over the top of the cheesecake, before scattering with the nuts and arranging the filo shards on top, trying to give it as much height as possible. Enjoy!
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