This recipe came from "Cheesecake Extraordinaire" cookbook and I took a chance on it, having made baklava so many times in the past.  It turned out quite well and I took liberty of garnishing it with baked strips of phyllo dough.  Suggestions would be to put more layers of phyllo on the bottom or do an almond cookie crust instead since the phyllo gets a bit soggy on the bottom.  Also, go easy on the rose water!  All in all, this was an impressive crowd-pleaser!

Baklava Cheesecake
(serves 12 to 18)

Crust:
3 sheets frozen phyllo dough (thawed)
3 T. butter or margarine (melted)

Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough on bottom of cheesecake pan, folding to fit.  Brush with some melted butter.  Repeat layering and brushing with remaining dough.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Filling:
24 oz. cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
5 tsp. cornstarch
4 eggs
1/4 cup (or less) rose water
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup flaked coconut
2 T. chopped toasted almonds

Combine cream cheese, sugar, honey, & cornstarch in large bowl.  Beat w/ electric mixer until smooth then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg.  Beat in rose water and lemon peel.  Stir in walnuts, coconut, and almonds.  Pour mixture over crust.


Bake at 350 degrees for 15 min. Lower temp to 225 degrees and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or till center no longer looks wet or shiny.  Remove cake from oven, run a knife around the inside edge of pan.  Turn over off and return cake to the oven for an additional hour. (This prevents cracking.)  Chill uncovered, overnight.

Topping:
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 T. honey
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. rose water
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 T. chopped toasted almonds
a few sheets of baked phyllo (optional)

In a small saucepan, stir sugar, water, honey, cornstarch, and rose water together.  Cook and stir till thick and bubbly.  Cook uncovered for 20 minutes more, stirring occasionally.  Stir in coconut and nuts.  Spread warm mixture over the cake and garnish with crumbled pieces of baked phyllo dough, if desired.  Chill until serving time.


 


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