Baklava cheesecake is a decadent yet easy dessert recipe. It’s a showstopper that you must add to your repertoire for the upcoming festive season and give people the reason to go ooh, ahh, and yum!
This is a very special one for me. I’ve been wanting to make cheesecake with baklava flavors for the longest time. But for reasons only known to Hestia, it just didn’t happen.
So, let me first begin with what is baklava cheesecake. It’s the delicious, scrumptious combination of creamy, tangy cheesecake and nutty, delicate baklava.
It’s definitely richer than any of my previous cheesecake recipes, with the flaky, crispy pastry layers luxuriating in signature baklava syrup. But it’s also one of the best cakes I’ve ever baked.
All the reasons to try this baklava cheesecake recipe
Exquisite, aromatic, dreamy dessert for the festive season
Don’t let a few extra steps stop you from trying it; the result is sublime
Slow and long bake, so you don’t have to keep checking the oven every 5 mins
How do you make baklava cheesecake?
This is an easy baklava cheesecake recipe. Yes, it is a labor of love and takes time (not on your part though, you don’t even have to bake the phyllo cheesecake crust separately). But it is very simple to make, especially if you use store-bought phyllo dough sheets.
Start with the cheesecake baklava filling
Step 1: Mix softened cream cheese with sugar. Then add in the eggs and Greek yogurt.
Step 2: Whisk in all-purpose flour and, for the final baklava touch, vanilla extract and rose water.
Use phyllo dough to make a layered cheesecake crust
Step 3: Dry roast halved walnuts and shelled and whole pistachios separately until fragrant.
Step 4: Take them off the heat and chop them very, very finely. You can use a food processor, but make sure you don’t turn them into powder.
Step 5: Lightly butter your deep springform pan (I used an 8-inch one).
Step 6: Tuck two sheets of phyllo dough inside the pan, allowing the sides to hang over the edges like a handkerchief.
Step 7: Brush melted butter on top of the phyllo sheets liberally and evenly sprinkle the chopped nuts on top. I used about two tablespoons worth.
Step 8: Place two more phyllo sheets on top, brush with butter, and sprinkle with nuts again. You repeat this for all 10 phyllo sheets, so 5 rounds in total, and that makes the cheesecake’s baklava crust.
Assembling the baklava cheesecake and then baking
Step 9: While the oven is heating up, pour your cheesecake filling over the phyllo crust.
Step 10: Trim the overhanging edges of the phyllo dough with a pair of scissors. I like to leave a 1-inch border, but if you want, you can cut that too. It’s exactly like cutting paper. My advice? Take your time with it.
Step 11: Carefully place the cake pan in the oven and bake it long and slow until the top is a beautiful, beautiful golden color (about 1 hour and 15 minutes).
Ladle syrup on baked, layered cheesecake
Step 12: Switch off the oven when the cheesecake has the tiniest wobble left. Crank open the door and let the cake cool a bit.
Step 13: Meanwhile, get the syrup ready by boiling water with sugar, a cinnamon stick, and honey. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer on low for about 10 minutes.
Step 14: Let it cool, then remove the cinnamon stick and rose water for that lovely floral and signature baklava taste.
Step 15: Remove your cheesecake from the tin and pour or ladle the syrup around the edges of the cheesecake (while it is still hot) where the baked phyllo sheets are, so they absorb it.
Step 16: Let the baklava cheesecake sit at room temperature for a couple of hours, allowing the honey syrup to set in. Then refrigerate it overnight.
Final Step: Garnish with pistachios and rose petals and serve the next day.
Tips for this easy baklava cheesecake recipe
- All your ingredients, from cream cheese to eggs to phyllo dough, should be at room temperature. It’s easier to beat and gives the cake a creamy texture.
- Roasting the nuts enhances the flavor. So don’t skip the step.
- If you have a good recipe for phyllo dough, go ahead and make it at home. If not, buy the premade sheets online or at a supermarket near you. They’re great pastry to have handy and can be used in any number of ways.
- Baklava cheesecake is indeed an easy recipe. But you do have to work fast when assembling the crust layers because the phyllo sheets are paper-thin and they dry out.
The trick I used was to keep the rest of the sheets covered with a damp tea towel while I worked with 2 of them.
- In case you’re not confident in trimming the phyllo overhang, fold them over or scrunch them up and bake. It makes for a very rustic appeal.
- There are 2 ways to bake baklava cheesecake: in one go like every other cheesecake, or in two portions. Here’s what you do. Around the 50-minute mark, when the filling still has a slight wobble to it, open the oven door and carefully slide out the cake.
Remove the ring of your spring-form pan very, very cautiously, and then bake again for about 20 minutes.
Why remove the ring? It allows the pastry edges to bake more and get that burnished color. But don’t let this step stop you from baking the cake. You can very easily skip it. The pastry will still be cooked through.
- You don’t have to test the syrup for one-string or two-string. You simply cook it till it gains a thick, syrupy consistency.
- I believe in a zero-waste kitchen, so instead of binning the cinnamon stick I used for the syrup, I washed it thoroughly. Dried it properly and then stuck it in my sugar jar. It’s a great way to reuse the spice.
- You can brush or drizzle the syrup on top of the cheese filling, but I advise concentrating around the phyllo dough layers. The more syrup you put around the edges, the sweeter the pastry will be.
And no, it doesn’t become cloyingly saccharine. The phyllo sheets are not sweet on their own. It’s the syrup that lends them their superb flavor. Besides, my family and I don’t like overly sweet desserts, so I’m very particular about balancing the flavors no matter how rich the recipe is.
Follow my measurements of the baklava cheesecake ingredients, and you’ll get the perfect amount of sweetness.
Do use a weighing scale, you'll get the most reliable results when you weigh out your ingredients.
- I always, always recommend chilling cheesecakes overnight. When you’ve been so patient, why not wait one more night? But, if you’re short on time, make it in the morning and give it at least a few hours in the fridge.
Notes on Baklava cheesecake ingredients
Sugar: Use superfine sugar. It’s so much easier to beat into the cream cheese. It almost melts into it.
Nuts: You can use any nut you prefer. By all means, increase the amount you layer between the phyllo sheets. You can even stir them into the cream cheese filling.
Eggs: You can make an eggless baklava cheesecake, as I did with my lemon or apple crumble cheesecake and saffron cardamom cheesecake. Leave them out. As simple as that. But I would recommend sticking to my recipe. Eggs help bind the cheesecake and give it body and a beautiful texture.
Another baklava dessert recipe
More cheesecake recipes
- 2 3/4 cup ( 600 gms) Cream Cheese
- 1 cup ( 200 gms) Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1/3 cup (90 gms) Greek yogurt, plain
- 1/3 cup ( 50 gms) All-purpose flour
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1.5 tsp Rose water
- 10 sheets Phyllo pastry
- 1 cup (100gms) Walnuts, halves
- 1/4 cup ( 30 gms) Pistachio, whole
- 3 tbsp (50 gms) Butter, melted
- 2/3 cup ( 118 gms) Water
- 1/4 cup ( 50 gms) Sugar
- 1/4 cup ( 70 gms) Honey
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 1.5 tsp Rose water
- Preheat your oven to 160C. Lightly grease an 8" springform cake tin with butter.
- In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese with sugar.
- Then add in the eggs and Greek yogurt.
- Whisk in the flour, vanilla extract, and rose water. Keep this aside while you prepare the crust.
- Dry roast halved walnuts and shelled and whole pistachios separately until fragrant.
- Take them off the heat, and cool. Chop very very finely. You can also use a food processor, just ensure that they don't turn into a powder.
- Carefully place one sheet of phyllo in the pan. Add another one on top. Let the pastry hang over the edges of the pan.
- Brush liberally with the butter. Sprinkle a fourth of the chopped nuts evenly on top.
- Cover the nuts with 2 sheets of phyllo. Brush with butter. Sprinkle another fourth of the nuts on top. Repeat this process 2 more times.
- Cover the nuts with the remaining 2 sheets of phyllo.
- Pour the cheesecake filling into this prepared crust.
- Trim the overhanging pastry sheets with a pair of scissors. Leave about 1"- 2" of the crust.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 60-75 minutes at 160C, or until the cake is golden and has the slightest of the wobble n the center. My cake took 75 minutes.
- Switch off the oven and leave the cake in the oven for 15-20 with the oven door slightly ajar.
- Meanwhile, get the syrup ready by boiling water with sugar, a cinnamon stick, lemon juice, and honey. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer on low for about 10 minutes.
- We are looking at a thickish, syrupy consistency for the syrup.
- Take out the cinnamon stick and let the syrup cool a bit. Add the rosewater.
- Take your cheesecake out of the oven and very carefully remove the ring from the cake tin. Pour or ladle the syrup around the edges of the cheesecake (while it is still hot) where the baked phyllo sheets are, so they absorb it. You can pour some syrup on the cheesecake too. But the pastry crust needs it most!
- Let the cheesecake sit at room temperature for 2 -3 hours (allowing the syrup to get soaked in), then refrigerate it overnight.
- Garnish with chopped pistachios and dried rose petals. Slice and serve. Enjoy!