Looking for a sweet new dessert recipe to try? Then you might want to check out this Baklava Cheesecake recipe. It’s a yummy hybrid dessert that offers the best of two worlds – traditional Greek baklava and rich North American cheesecake!
Baklava is a sweet and sumptuous pastry dessert that hails all the way from the Mediterranean. It originated in Turkey but quickly spread to all of its neighbours, including Greece. Traditionally, it included all kinds of chopped nuts that were wrapped in pastry dough and sprinkled with sweet sauce.
Cooks would place several layers of phyllo dough pastry shells in a large pan, separating each layer with melted butter and olive oil. Then they would chop nuts, such as walnuts, pistachios, or hazelnuts, and sprinkle them on top of the phyllo before adding another layer of dough, butter, and oil. They repeated this process several times! In Turkey, they would also use almonds in their baklava recipes, and sometimes they would use a creamy mixture called “kaymak”, a kind of clotted cream made from water buffalo milk. In Greece, baklava recipes were often made with thirty-three layers to reflect the number of years in Jesus Christ’s life. Those are a lot of yummy years to savour!
The cooks would normally bake most of these baklava pastry recipes at about a hundred and eighty degrees Celsius for thirty minutes or so – but before doing so, they’d cut the preparation into diagonal sections so the pieces would be triangular, parallelogram, or diamond in shape. And when it emerged from the oven, they’d pour a delicious syrup over the top. Depending on the region in which they lived, this would be rose water, honey, or orange flower water.
Now, let’s discuss cheesecake for a minute! Above we said it was North American, but we’re just talking about this particular cheesecake recipe. Believe it or not, cheesecake also originated in the Mediterranean and finds its roots in Greece as well. Not only that, but it is just as ancient as baklava, perhaps even older. And we thought cheesecake was a recent North American invention, right?
According to legend, cheesecake was considered to be so healthy in ancient Greece that they'd give it to athletes during the Olympic games! It was also a very popular wedding cake.
Cheesecake desserts are just so gorgeously appetizing, it’s no wonder they’ve traveled the entire world and found such a prominent home in the United States. When we think of cheesecake these days, we often think of New York Cheesecake because this state has made it so famous. While traditional Greek Cheesecake recipes merely called for cheese, flour, and honey, our modern-day NY style cheesecake recipes are much more involved – and the invention of one key ingredient – namely “cream cheese” - has made this dessert creamier and, therefore, more in-demand than ever before.
And can you believe it, it was Arnold Reuben – the famous creator of the “Reuben” sandwich, who also invented the New York cheesecake recipe we all know and love today? He was so smitten by his first experience with this delicious dessert dish, he experimented with cheesecake recipes until he made one entirely his own.
And now, Lindsay over at the “Life, Love, and Sugar” blog has done some experimenting of her own! She’s combined these two mouth-watering dessert recipes – baklava and cheesecake – into one spectacular dessert dish. Thank you, Lindsay, for sharing this wonderful new creation with us! Can’t wait to try it out tonight after dinner!
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