Baklava Cheesecake

Baklava Cheesecake

1 pound phyllo pastry sheets
1/2 cup melted butter

32 ounces cream cheese
1 cup honey
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 eggs

1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 (1 1/2-inch) cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon cognac
Filling: Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
Beat cream cheese in large bowl of mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually
mix in honey, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Beat in eggs one at a time
until just incorporated. Set aside.

Crust: Brush 10-inch springform with butter. Arrange 1 phyllo pastry sheet
with long edge partially to edge of surface (cover remaining sheets with
damp towel.) Brush left half of sheet with butter and fold right half over.
Brush top with butter. Place in prepared pan, buttered side up, leaving 5
inches over-hanging at one end. Cover with another dampened towel. Butter
and fold second phyllo sheet and arrange in pan, overlapping first sheet by
3 inches. Repeat with 4 more sheets, covering entire pan. Wrap remaining
pastry airtight and refrigerate. Stir through filling and pour into crust.
Cover filling with overhanging phyllo, squaring at edge of pan. Bake until
pastry is light brown and cake is firm to touch, about 50 minutes. Remove
pan sides. Using a wooden pick, poke 12 holes in top of cake to allow steam
to escape. Cool completely on rack. Refrigerate 2 days to mellow flavors,
covering after first day.

Topping: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover baking sheet with 2 pieces of
parchment. Coarse grind all nuts with 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon of
cinnamon in processor. Stack 10 reserved pastry sheets on work surface. Set
rim of springform atop pastry. Cut around inside of rim through entire stack
using a sharp knife, making 10 rounds. Cover rounds with damp cloth. Set pan
rim on prepared baking sheet. Brush parchment and inside of pan rim, with
butter. Place 1 pastry round in pan rim brush with butter. Repeat with 4
more rounds. Spread nut mixture evenly over pastry. Top with remaining 5
pastry rounds, brushing each with butter. Using ruler as guide, cut pastry
into 16 wedges with sharp knife. Sprinkle lightly with water. Bake until
crisp and golden, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile heat 1/2 cup sugar, water and lemon juice in heavy small sauce pan
over low heat, swirling pan occasionally until sugar dissolves. Add cinnamon
stick, increase heat to medium and boil until syrupy, about 4 minutes.
Remove from heat. When bubbles subside stir in Cognac. Flatten pastry atop
cake. Remove pan rim from topping. Set topping on cake, using a large
spatula. Re-cut wedges. Replace pan rim on assembled cake. Immediately pour
on hot syrup. Cool 1 hour. Refrigerate for 1 to 6 hours. Let cakes stand for
20 minutes before serving.

Makes 16 servings.