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BAKLAVA CHEESECAKE

1 hour cooking time

25 min preparation time

Serves 10 – 12

Ingredients

Syrup and Nut Topping
200 g / 250 ml sugar
250 ml water
1 cinnamon stick
15 ml lemon juice
10 ml brandy (optional)
200 g almonds with brown skins

Pastry
10 sheets phyllo pastry (seal and refrigerate or freeze the rest)
125 g Clover Mooi River Salted Choice Butter, melted

Filling
120 g / 150 ml sugar
10 ml corn flour
10 ml cake flour
1 kg cream cheese or creamed cottage cheese (4 x 250 g tubs)
250 ml Clover Fresh Cream
10 ml lemon juice
5 ml vanilla essence
3 extra large eggs
3 egg yolks

Method

  1. Place the sugar, water, cinnamon stick, and lemon juice into a saucepan and bring to boil, stirring. Turn down the heat and simmer 10 minutes or until syrupy and reduced by almost half. Add the brandy if used and set aside.
  2. Scatter the almonds onto a baking tray and toast lightly in the oven at 180ºC for 5 – 6 minutes to develop flavour. Cool, chop up very coarsely – some may be left whole – and add to the syrup.
  3. Brush a 26cm spring-form tin with melted butter and preheat the oven to 150ºC.
  4. To prepare the phyllo pastry crust, place one sheet of phyllo pastry on the work surface, brush with melted butter and place the next sheet with the points of the second sheet lying over the straight sides of the first. Continue brushing and layering the phyllo sheets in this way to create a star-shaped layered effect, until eight sheets have been used.
  5. Lift the sheets into the tin and press down into the corners to line the tin with the points protruding upwards. Brush and layer the last two sheets which will cover the filling and set aside.
  6. To make the filling, beat together all the ingredients for 2 minutes until creamy and well combined and pour into the lined tin. Place the last two sheets of phyllo over the top (over the filling) and carefully fold the points of phyllo pastry, one by one, over the filling towards the centre. The top should have an irregular appearance.
  7. Brush the top with the remaining butter or margarine and bake 45 – 50 minutes until the cake rises slightly in the centre and feels firm if tested with the fingertips. Cover the pastry loosely with foil if it browns too soon or too much.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven and place the tin onto an oven pan or pizza plate to prevent syrup from leaking out when returned to the oven. Gradually spoon over the syrup and nuts, allowing the syrup to become absorbed and return to the oven for 10 minutes more.
  9. Switch off the oven and place a spoon in the oven door. Cool the cake in the oven for 30 minutes. Cool completely, remove from the tin and refrigerate a while before serving or up to three days in an airtight container. If preferred, heat the cake a few minutes at 160ºC to warm the phyllo and syrup slightly before serving.