Baklava Cheesecake with Pistachios and Honey Syrup is an amazing blend of two favorites; a luscious cheesecake and rich, crispy baklava pastry.
My decision to make a Baklava Cheesecake with Pistachios and Honey Syrup was initially inspired by the fact that my local grocery store decided that Phyllo Dough was a good substitution for Puff Pastry in an order that was delivered to my home.
They are not interchangeable and even I find this hard to believe; I had never purchased phyllo dough before! I had long wanted to make Baklava but it seemed far more difficult than it is and the warning about not letting the dough dry out convinced me it was a hassle. Neither were true!
I had a moment of thinking I would finally make Baklava and publish it here, but then thought WHY? Lots and lots of recipes, many from Greek authors and I simply decided there was no need to put another recipe into the mix when the pros had published plenty to choose from.
Those pros include Peter Minaki who is a chef and cooking instructor who blogs at Kalofagas; take a peek at his Baklava if you’re interested in giving an authentic recipe a try. If you already love Greek food or if you’re ready to jump in, Peter’s site is a gem; everything looks absolutely divine.
Peter also was kind enough to let me use his photo for the depiction of the phyllo in a springform pan in my recipe instructions.
I could not find mine on my phone and was verklempt. No surprise, a Canadian came to the rescue. A Greek Canadian to be exact; thanks Peter!
That being said I honestly don’t remember what had me think about combining Baklava with cheesecake. Did I spy a tray full of cream cheese in the fridge and get the notion. Possibly? But I was on to something that sounded amazing and I was certain was unique. Well it was certainly amazing but unique? Not so much!
Lot of recipes, lots of variations, and while I have made some modifications I decided best to follow Peter’s lead; his looked fabulous and was a good start for me.
His recipe sounded straightforward but I did make a couple of revisions. None to the base which I trusted but I wanted to try a couple of different things in putting it together.
For instance, Peter put all of the nut component on the bottom of the cheesecake, I decided I wanted to split it between the top and bottom.
He urges you to use Greek honey…easier for him than for me; I wouldn’t have a clue where to find Greek honey, so I made a honey syrup. I also did not include the rosewater Peter suggests…I didn’t have any of that either!
Maybe the biggest difference was in the top of the cheesecake. I did use Peter’s directions on placing the phyllo in the bottom of the springform pan with extra left hanging over the edge and that is what is used to cover the filling before baking. But I was still dying for something a bit more dramatic.
Maybe the most difficult part of this recipe is how to describe what I did on top. I opened up a couple of pieces of dough, brushed them with melted butter and lightly scrunched each piece together somewhat in the shape of a ball but not constrained or smooth at all; each structure went on about a fourth of the cheesecake. They were light and airy and resulted in a puffy and crisp topping.
Was it necessary? Probably not, but it did offer a pretty visual for the finished Baklava Cheesecake and of course who could fault some additional pieces of that beautiful crispy phyllo dough drizzled with honey syrup?
This was so amazing that I did something very untypical for me. Normally I love to share whenever I make a special dessert and I usually invite one or two families on my street over to help me enjoy a special treat. I call them my ‘eaters’ but they are first and foremost my friends.
I’m always happy to enjoy a slice and have the rest gone so I don’t have cheesecake for breakfast for a week. So, OK, I gave most away but not before I squirreled away a nice size piece for me and put it in the back of my fridge, hidden to the world!
Maybe not my normal routine with dessert, but what a delight to wake up in the morning, fix my coffee, and remember this decadence in the fridge. The heck with fruit and yogurt; I wanted cheesecake!
I have always loved this recipe for a Lemon Cheesecake; I’m not one to want a bunch of candy thrown all over my cheesecake. This one though? I can honestly say it’s moved into a tie; such a perfect combination of sweet and creamy cheesecake and a touch of lemon with that wonderful crispy and nutty baklava component.
The Baklava Cheesecake base is kept from being too sweet with the use of Greek yogurt and a touch of lemon; it’s a nice balance to the sweeter crust made with nuts and the honey syrup which is used in both the crust and as a garnish drizzled onto the entire dessert.
I have so many things I want to make that I seldom do something twice…but not this. I want another one RIGHT NOW! I know you will get it. It’s an amazing dessert!
More of Our Favorite Cheesecakes
- Luscious Lemon Cheesecake
- White Chocolate Mascarpone Cheesecake with Salted Caramel
- Pumpkin Cheesecake with Walnuts and Bourbon Caramel Sauce
- Eggnog Cheesecake
PIN IT! ‘Baklava Cheesecake with Pistachios’
- 1 Springform Pan 10 inch diameter
For the Cinnamon Honey Syrup
- 1 & ⅓ cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup honey
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
For the Crust
- 1 cup walnuts (toasted)
- 1 cup almonds (toasted)
- 10-12 sheets phyllo pastry (thawed)
- 8 ounces butter (melted, for brushing dough)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup honey syrup
- 2 Tbsp melted butter
For the Cheesecake
- 16 ounces cream cheese (2 packages) (softened)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 3 large eggs (room temperature)
- 8 ounce Greek yogurt, strained (or sour cream)
- ¼ cup pistachios
- ¼ cup toasted almonds and walnuts (reserved from nut crust)
To Make the Honey Syrup
- Stir together the water, sugar, and honey in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 20-25 minutes until reduced and syrupy and you have approximately 1 3/4 to 2 cups.
- Remove syrup from heat and stir in cinnamon. Let cool completely.
To Make the Cheesecake
- Combine the toasted nuts and measure out and set aside 1/4 cup.
- Put the remaining nuts in a food processor and process in quick bursts until finely chopped.
- Transfer the finely chopped nuts to a medium bowl and add 1/4 cup of the honey syrup, salt, cinnamon, and melted butter. Stir together and set aside.
- Place a layer of trimmed parchment paper on the base of a 9-10 inch springform pan before you lock the collar.
- Remove phyllo dough from packaging and keep it covered with a moistened towel to keep it from drying out.
- Lay your first sheet of phyllo on your work surface and brush it with melted butter. From the short side, fold the phyllo up a quarter of the way then continue to fold over until you have one strip of folded phyllo.
- Place one end into the center of the springform pan and have it run up the side of the pan (there will be some overhang). Repeat with remaining sheets of phyllo. Your bottom should now be covered in phyllo strips.
- Spread one cup of the nut mixture over bottom of pan. Bake phyllo and nuts for 6 minutes and remove from oven and let cool while you make the base.
- Combine cream cheese, sugar, salt, vanilla, lemon zest and juice and corn starch in a mixing bowl and mix for about 4-5 minutes or until smooth and there are no lumps. Scrape the sides with a spatula.
- Add the eggs one at a time followed with the yogurt; scrapping the sides of the bowl between additions. Pour the mixture into your springform pan and smooth to even out. Tap the springform a couple of times on your counter to remove any air bubbles.
- Use a teaspoon to place dollops of the remaining nut filling dotted all over the top of the cheesecake batter. Fold the overhanging filo edges onto the cheesecake. Bake for 1 hour or until the center is almost set.
- Remove cheesecake from the oven and turn the heat up to 350°F. Brush 4 pieces of phyllo dough with butter, use your hands to crumple them into a loose ball and place them on the top of the cheesecake. Bake for 8-10 minutes more or until the newly added dough has turned golden.
- Remove cheesecake from the oven and let cool at room temp for about an hour, then place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours.
- To serve, remove springform pan and sprinkle top with the reserved nut mixture combined with chopped pistachio nuts. Drizzle more syrup over cheesecake; serving any that is remaining on the side. Refrigerate leftovers.