Baklava Cheesecake – A Palava For Different Baklava.

I am not going to lie, this was a two day affair. You can’t make this in a rush and it is worth the effort. I got onto the idea of doing a baklava cheesecake after the success of the carrot cake cheesecake and it sounded like it would go well with the Indian Feast we were cooking for friends at home.

After several hours spent googling different recipes I hashed together a few ideas and took the best bits form various places. The recipes in google land vary greatly but I had a vision of what I wanted and I stuck to that.  It was a success and I am so looking forward to having another piece at some point today.

Don’t be frightened by the steps, take it slowly and it will all come together.

Baklavacheese

Baklava Cheesecake - Muffinmum.com

  • Servings: 8-10
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Sugar Syrup

1/2 c caster sugar

2/3 c water

1/2 c honey

1 cinnamon stick

Biscuits Base

200g  biscuits

80g butter, melted

Cheesecake Filling

500g (2 x 250g Philadelphia) Cream Cheese

1/2 c caster Sugar

2 eggs

3/4 c plain yoghurt or Sour cream

1 tsp vanilla essence

Zest of one lemon

Nut Mix

2 c roasted nuts ( almonds, walnuts and pistachio)

1/2 c of the sugar syrup

1 tbsp cinnamon

20g melted butter

Phyllo Pastry

5 sheets of Phyllo pastry

1/2 c melted butter

Day 1-

Grease and line a 20cm spring form/loose bottom tin.

Sugar Syrup –

Do this first to give it some time to develop.

Place all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat, stir until you can’t feel the sugar anymore.

Allow to simmer without stirring until it thickens, around 15 minutes.

Leave to cool, remove cinnamon stick, decant and store in a cupboard.

Biscuits Base – 

Crush biscuits in a food processor

While the motor runs add the melted butter

Place the crumb mixture into the prepared tin and push up the sides of the tin and flatten on the bottom.

Cover and place in the fridge.

Nut Mixture –

Roast the nuts if they need it, takes about 10 minutes on a baking sheet at 180. Allow to cool.

Grind nuts so there is some coarseness left.

Mix ground nuts with cinnamon, sugar and melted butter.

Pour 1/2 c of the sugar syrup over the nuts and give them a stir.

Hide from yourself in a locked box!

Day 2-

Heat oven to 160

Cheesecake Filling

Beat room temperature cream cheese with sugar.

Add eggs, vanilla, yoghurt/sour cream , lemon zest and mix until until fluffy.

Put half of the filling onto the biscuit base, cover this with 1/2 nut mix.

Top with the remaining filling.

Phyllo Pastry

Make a 20cm circle out of greaseproof paper.

Cut 10 circles out of the pastry (fold sheets in half)

Brush 1 sheet with butter, place on top the filling.

Do this with 4 more sheets.

Sprinkle remaining nut mixture over the 5 pastry sheets.

Top with remaining pastry, brushed with butter.

Score lines going from just inside the edge to just before the centre, I managed eight.

Tip the remaining syrup slowly over the top of the cheesecake.

Bake for 1 – 1 hour 15 , until pastry is brown and the filling doesn’t wobble.

Allow to cool in the tin.

Refrigerate, remove from the fridge about 20 minutes before serving.

I kept the cheesecake in the tin until just before serving, it was easy to remove from the tin and I sliced using the Phyllo Pastry cuts as a guide.

Enjoy.

 

A Perisian Inspired Feast.

I did a Wellington Foodies thing with the lovely Susan from My Persian Feast. After this I decided I had to have a dinner party with a Persian influence. I also went for a Ottolenghi angel knowing the ideas would blend well. As usual, I spent many hours planning, culled the menu and got sensible. I even took a day off to cook on the Friday. I had a happy day off dancing, cooking and eating mixture. I did the usual subject- bread and dips. I also made Ka’ach Bilmalch. They are somewhere between a cookie, bagel and bread roll. They are rather moorish, as was the Tahini Dip that goes along side this recipe. You can find the recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Taminmi’s book Jerusalem. If you are interested enough to read my post, you need it any way. Photo 16-08-14 4 20 08 pm The main event was Chicken with Summer Fruit. I did this in the slow cooker, it was on all day making the house smell lovely. It was wonderfully different and went down very well. I used a mix of chicken cuts and I browned the meat under the grill to do it in one bulk lot.  The slow cooker was on all day and I turned it down to low at about 3pm. We ate around 7pm. Photo 16-08-14 4 20 31 pm This is the recipe Susan from My Persian Feast emailed me. Chicken with Summer Fruit 

This is a sweet and sour dish with hint of spice. I usually make this dish with lamb in slow cooker and change the fruit depending on what I have at home. Dried fruit such as cranberries, barberries, plum (hard to find) and raisins are good to use for this recipe.

Chicken with Summer Fruit- Muffinmum.com

  • Servings: 6-8
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6 Chicken thighs, skin removed (any part of chicken is fine)

1 Large onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

12 Apricots

1 cup dried cherry, wash and soak in water for few hours (Countdown/ Moore Wilson’s)

3 table spoon Pomegranate molasses

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon chilli flakes, fresh or powder is fine

salt and pepper

Vegetable Oil

Rub the chicken pieces with little turmeric and black pepper.

Heat a frying pan, add oil and brown the chicken.

Transfer to a casserole dish and pour 2 cups of boiling water over the chicken.

Simmer for about 30-40 minutes (for slow cooker-  brown chicken add to slow cooker, carry on with recipe and add the ingredients as follows below, add ingredients to slow cooker)

In the same frying pan sauté the onion until softened.

Add little oil if needed. Add garlic, turmeric, chilli and cinnamon, stir well.

Add fruits and Pomegranate molasses cook for few minutes

Add the mixture to chicken and cook for another 20 minutes/ or 6-8 hours in slow cooker

Add more boiling water if needed

Taste the sauce after 10 minutes if its too sweet add more pomegranate molasses and if its too sour add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar or honey.

Serve with Persian style saffron flavoured fluffy rice, garlic yoghurt and baby spinach. Nooshe Jaan!

I also used her recipe for Smokey Aubergine Dip  ( Mirza Ghasemi)

2 medium aubergines

5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup chopped canned tomatoes or 5 tomatoes, skin removed and chopped (not the Italian tomatoes, cheap can tomatoes are the best. The acid from normal tomato will bring freshness to dish)

Generous amount of olive oil Chilli powder optional ( I added a fresh red chilli too)

1 teaspoon turmeric salt and pepper

  • The best way is to cook aubergines whole over an open flame (either on a barbecue or over a domestic gas stove) on low heat until the skin blackened and the flesh has softened right through to the centre.
  • Alternatively, to bake them, Place the aubergines in a roasting tin and roast them whole in the oven 40-45 minutes.
  • Remove the skin and mash the with fork
  • In a frying pan sauté chopped garlic until soft. Add turmeric and stir
  • Add the mashed eggplant and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring thoroughly.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper to the mix, stir well and cook for further10 minutes over medium heat.
  • Serve warm with crusty bread and garnish with chopped parsley and olive oil.

And my new favourite salad, I doubled this. Marinated Feta Cheese (Noon-o-Paneer)

75 g feta cheese, cubed
1/4 cup walnut, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon spring onion, chopped
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon nigella seeds (got these in a local Indian Store)
Add walnuts to a glass jar or small container, add enough water to cover the walnuts. Soak walnuts for 6 hours or overnight in the fridge. Rinse and discard water.
In a small bowl combine olive oil, herbs, spring onion, lemon juice, chopped walnuts and nigella seeds.
Stir until well mixed.
Add cheese cubes and toss very gently to coat.
Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
And… drum roll…..
Photo 16-08-14 8 08 04 pm
And lastly, I made- Walnut and Almond Crescents ( Ghottaab) you can see them on the left of my mega platter. They were lovely and would go rather well with coffee.
In the middle is the very interesting Baklava Cake , it does not have pastry and is rather like an India sweet. I loved it, husband was not sure.
On the far side is a Dish magazine Cherry Tart, I soaked the cherries in rosewater to keep with the theme. I wanted to do something familiar and it was good too. All up, this was a lovely meal and we had a great evening,

Baklava cigars using Whittaker’s white raspberry chocolate

*A day later I have come to the conclusion that next time I make these I will use a traditional honey based syrup, the sugar one just doesn’t cut it for me. I like the sticky ooze too much.

I was lucky enough to be sent a bar of the new Whittaker’s white raspberry chocolate. I am a big fan of the chocolate and love the white chocolate variety for baking. Adding raspberries to the mix can only be a good thing, right? After pondering what to make I hit upon the idea of baklava cigars and remembered a recipe I had seen on the Australian Taste site. When I looked at the recipe things just got better, it calls for cardamom in the syrup. Cardamom and white chocolate are one of those random but fantastic blends. Anyway, back to the making, it was an easy and impressive thing to do. Next time I will make double the syrup called for as there isn’t quite enough sticky goodness for me.
As per usual, I did things a bit differently.
I used whole almonds and ground them in the food processor, then added the squares of chocolate and ground that with the sugar.
I used 1 sheet of filo per cigar. This made an easy time of the folding. I placed one sheet flat, buttered it, folded it in half vertically, buttered the top and placed the mix about 2cm from the bottom. Folded the bottom up over its self, tucked in the two vertical sides and rolled. I hope
that makes sense.

From Taste.co.au
Ingredients    

105g (3/4 cup) slivered almonds, coarsely chopped
100g white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tbs caster sugar
12 sheets filo pastry
60g unsalted butter, melted
225g (1 cup) white sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) water
5 cardamom pods, bruised
Place the almonds, chocolate and caster sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Place the filo on a clean work surface. Cover with a clean tea towel, then a damp tea towel (this will prevent it drying out).
Use my method or –
Brush 1 filo sheet with melted butter. Top with another filo sheet and brush with melted butter. Repeat with another filo sheet and melted butter. Cut into quarters.
Spoon 1 tablespoonful of almond mixture along the centre of 1 narrow edge of each filo stack. Fold in sides and roll up to create a cigar shape. Place, seam-side down, on the lined tray and brush with melted butter. Repeat with remaining filo sheets, almond mixture and melted butter. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
Meanwhile, place white sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Add cardamom pods. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes or until syrup thickens. Stir in the lemon juice.
Place cigars in a heatproof dish. Drizzle over the syrup. Serve.