Southern Living
Active Time
18 Mins
Total Time
11 Hours 50 Mins
Yield
10 servings

A simple cheesecake is a delight in and of itself, but what we love most about the classic, creamy dessert is that it’s an excellent vehicle for experimentation. There is no tart, fruity topping or sweet mix-in that doesn’t feel right at home in the sugary, eggy mix, and this Greek twist on the traditional treat is no exception. In addition to a walnut crust, each slice of this indulgent cheesecake includes a surprise serving of baklava—flaky layers of phyllo pastry studded with chopped nuts and bound together by sticky, syrupy honey. While you can certainly make your own baklava if you’d prefer, save time by picking up prepared baklava from your neighborhood Greek restaurant or bakery.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pulse 1 1/2 cups walnuts and 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor 4 or 5 times or until walnuts are finely ground. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand. Press mixture firmly on bottom of a lightly greased (with shortening) 9-inch springform pan. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

Step 2

Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Beat cream cheese, mascarpone, and remaining 3/4 cup sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add almond extract and salt, beating at low speed just until blended.

Step 3

Cut each baklava piece into 2 small triangles, about 2 x 3 inches. Arrange baklava pieces in a ring over baked crust, with pointed end of each piece pointing toward center and wide ends around outside edge of pan. Pour batter over baklava into baked crust.

Step 4

Bake at 300°F for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from oven; gently run a knife around edge of cheesecake to loosen. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 2 hours). Cover and chill 8 hours. Remove sides of pan. Top with walnut halves. Drizzle with Honey Syrup.

Step 5

Make Honey Syrup: Combine 1/2 cup honey, 2 tsp. orange blossom water, and 1/2 tsp. orange zest in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; cool completely.

Chef's Notes

Find orange blossom water at upscale food markets or cook stores.