Individual Baklava Cheesecakes
- Makes 16 mini cheesecakes:
- For the baklava cup:
- 9 (#4) phyllo pastry sheets, thawed and at room temperature
- ½ pound unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup ground nuts: almonds, walnuts, or pistachios
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- For the Syrup:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice or orange juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- For the cheesecake filling:
- 1-pound cream cheese, soft and at room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
- For the garnish:
- Fresh berries
- Sour cherry preserves or your favorite preserves
- Finely ground salted pistachios
Preheat the oven to 350 °F, 180 °C.
Make the syrup:
Combine the sugar, juice, water and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan. Stir together and bring to a boil. Remove from heat as soon as the sugar is dissolved. Add the vanilla extract and set aside to cool.
Make the Nut Mixture:Combine all of the nut filling ingredients in a small bowl and mix together until combined.
Make the cheesecake filling:
Combine the cream cheese, vanilla, and almond extract in the bowl of a tabletop mixer fitted with the beater attachment. Mix on low speed until smooth. Add the sour cream, egg, and egg yolk. Mix on low speed until combined and smooth. Set aside.
Make the Baklava cups:
Make one stack first (6 layers of phyllo will make 12 cups)
Brush each phyllo pastry sheet with melted butter and sprinkle some of the nut filling on top. Divide the filling equally (1-2 tablespoons per layer) between the 5 layers. The final (6th) layer will not have any nut filling on top.
Repeat this process with the remaining phyllo sheets layering them on top of each other.
Cut the phyllo layers into 12 equal (4- inch) squares.
Nestle each square into the muffin tin to form phyllo cups. Press the center down.
Brush each phyllo cup with any remaining melted butter.
Cut the remaining 3 phyllo sheets in half (the long way) to end up with 6 layers and repeat the same process to create 4 more baklava cups.
Bake in the center rack of the oven until golden. 10 minutes.
Assemble the cheesecake cups:
Reduce the oven’s temperature to 325 °F, 160 °C.
Place 2 tablespoons of the cheesecake filling in the center of each cup. Bake until the filling is set, and the phyllo is golden. About 25 minutes.
As soon as they come out of the oven pour the syrup evenly over the cups.
Allow the baklava cheesecakes to sit in the muffin tin for 15-20 minutes to cool and to absorb the syrup.
Carefully remove each cheesecake from the muffin tin with an offset spatula and set on a cooling rack. Place a baking tray or some foil under the cooling rack to catch any syrup that drips down from the cheesecakes.
Refrigerate until chilled and serve topped with your favorite garnish.
These can be made 1 day ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Enjoy!
For the Baklava Cheesecake Rolls:
Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
Take one sheet of phyllo, drizzle some melted butter over top.
Sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of nut mixture over the butter.
Fold it in half lengthwise.
Place a small scoop (using a small ice cream scoop), about 1-1 and ½ tablespoons of the cheesecake filling at the bottom of pastry, keeping it centered.
Fold over both sides (right and left long sides) of pastry over cream.
Drizzle with some more melted butter.
Roll the pastry all the way up keeping it a bit loose to allow room for the custard to cook during baking. Place on the prepared baking tray.
Keep doing this until all of the phyllo and cheesecake filling are finished.
Brush the tops with the remaining melted butter.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden.
Pour the syrup over the custard rolls. Let sit for about 1 hour to absorb the syrup.
Chill in the refrigerator 1-2 hours or overnight.