Recipe: Baklava Cheesecake with Orange Blossom Syrup


Nothing beats the flavours of a gorgeous baklava — think orange, saffron, honey and pistachios. Imagine the perfection of combining those flavours with a creamy baked cheesecake. A Middle Eastern-inspired treat, perfect for a celebration.

Recipe: Extracted from The Laden Table: Recipes to share, infused with spice by Ashia Ismail-Singer

Serves 8–10

INGREDIENTS

For the base:
250g pistachios
200g mixed nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts)
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom
12 sheets store-bought filo pastry
125g butter, melted

For the filling:
450g cream cheese, at room temperature
120g sugar
15g plain flour
3 eggs
75g double cream

For the orange blossom syrup:
½ cup honey
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
2 tsp rose water
2 tsp orange blossom water
pinch of saffron (optional)

dried rose petals, fresh rose petals and extra pistachios, to garnish

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 160°C fanbake. Grease a 22cm loose-bottomed cake tin.

For the base: Place the nuts in a food processor and whizz until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl, add the sugar and the spices and stir to combine.

Place a sheet of filo pastry in the cake tin and brush with melted butter. Cover with one more layer of filo brushed with butter — the sheets will hang over the edge. Sprinkle a layer of spiced nuts over top. Butter 2 more filo sheets and place them on top of the first layer of pastry and nuts. Repeat the process with the remaining filo pastry and nut mixture, ending with a layer of filo.

For the filling: Using an electric beater or stand mixer, whisk the cream cheese with the sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the flour, eggs and double cream and whisk until just combined. Pour onto the prepared filo base. Cut the overhanging filo around the edge of the cake tin.

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For the syrup: In a saucepan, combine the honey, water and sugar over a medium–high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cook until the syrup thickens, then remove from the heat. Add the rose water, orange blossom water and saffron (if using). Stir to combine and set aside.

Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes, then carefully remove the sides of the cake tin and bake for a further 20–25 minutes until golden. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and pour the syrup over the edges and sides. Allow to cool completely and then serve with dried rose petals, fresh rose petals and pistachios to garnish and a cup of apple tea.

Tip: It’s best to use double cream for the filling. You can find it near the fresh cream in your supermarket.


The Laden Table: Recipes to share, infused with spice by Ashia Ismail-Singer, photography by Lottie Hedley, published by Bateman Books, RRP $59.99, release date April 2024.

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