This unique dessert is a fusion of two classic dishes: baklava and cheesecake. The crunchy baklava crust is topped with a light and creamy cheesecake layer, creating a truly delicious and decadent treat. Whether you're looking for a showstopping dessert for a special occasion or a delicious bite to enjoy on a lazy afternoon, this baklava cheesecake is sure to become your new favorite.
Baklava + Cheesecake. What's not to love about this dessert?
A crispy phyllo dough crust on the outside and a light, creamy cheesecake filling on the inside are topped with a drizzle of orange and rose water syrup. This dessert is the best of both worlds, and is sure to be the star of any dessert table.
Watch the Baklava Cheesecake Video Below!
Baklava Cheesecake Ingredients
Here is a list of the main ingredients you'll need:
- Phyllo dough sheets
- Cream cheese
- Sour cream
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Pistachios (walnuts, pecans, and almonds can be substituted)
- Powdered sugar
- Orange or lemon juice
- Rose water (orange blossom water can be substituted)
Phyllo dough sheets (or fill sheets) can be found in the frozen section at the grocery store, where you may also find pie crusts. Phyllo dough is a very thin, unleavened dough that becomes crispy and flaky when layered, brushed with oil or butter, and baked. It is a versatile dough that can be used for both desserts and savory dishes.
Rose water is made by boiling rose petals in water for a long period of time. It is commonly used in Middle Eastern desserts to help elevate the sweet flavors and add a floral element. I like to buy it bottled because it is relatively affordable, convenient, and has a more potent and consistent fragrance.
Please refer to recipe card below for quantities.
Baklava Cheesecake Instructions
Below are the five main steps for making this recipe.
Prepare the first layer of the crust:
Line phyllo dough sheets inside the buttered springform cake pan and liberally brush each layer with melted butter as you go. Cover the dough you are not using with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out. Use a fork to pierce the phyllo dough in several places to allow air to escape. Bake in the oven until the pastry sheets are a nice golden color and set aside. I recommend wrapping the bottom of your springform pan with foil to prevent any liquids from leaking out during baking.
Prepare the second layer of the crust:
Pulse the pistachios in a food processor until ground, being careful not to over process them as it will become a paste. Stir together the ground pistachios, cinnamon, and cardamom. Remove 1 tablespoon of the mixture to use for the topping later. Add the powdered sugar and melted butter, stirring until the mixture is well combined. Fill the inside of the cooked phyllo crust with this nut mixture. Layer more phyllo sheets on top, brushing each sheet with melted butter. Overlap the sheets to completely cover the top and sides of the crust. Bake for an additional 5-8 minutes, or until the top layer is golden brown.
Prepare the cream cheese layer:
In a large mixing bowl, or a stand mixer, cream the sugar and cream cheese on medium speed, then add eggs, vanilla and sour cream. Pour the cream cheese mixture inside of the phyllo crust. Add a ring of foil to the top edge of the springform pan to ensure that the crust will not burn over the next baking session. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and set aside. Carefully remove the outer ring from your springform tin.
Prepare the decorative crust layer:
Cut several phyllo sheets into 4 inch wide ribbons, brush with butter, twist, and arrange on the top of the baklava cheesecake. Place back into the oven to bake until your phyllo is crispy and golden. Remove from oven, allow to cool, then refrigerate for several hours, or overnight.
Prepare the orange and rose water syrup:
Just before serving, drizzle the syrup on top of the baked cheesecake baklava and brush it on the sides. Sprinkle the reserved mixture of pistachios, cardamom and cinnamon on top. I hope that you enjoy making this delicious baklava cheesecake recipe, as I think it is truly an amazing dessert!
Walnuts, almonds, and pecans are all acceptable substitutes for pistachios. They can be used together or individually, depending on your preference.
If you prefer, you can omit the rose water without compromising the overall flavor of the cheesecake.
Honey can be used as the base of the syrup, and depending on the source of nectar, it can add nutty or floral flavors. However, honey is thicker than the syrup in my recipe, so it will need to be watered down with a few tablespoons of water to have the right consistency.
The springform pan's removable bottom and sides make it easy to remove the cheesecake from the pan without damaging the phyllo crust.
Unfortunately, puff pastry is not a good substitute for phyllo dough in this recipe. Phyllo dough has a light and flaky texture, while puff pastry is chewy and thick.
I have tested this recipe with and without a water bath, and I have found that there is no significant benefit to using a water bath for this particular recipe. However, if you prefer to use a water bath like I do for some other cheesecake recipes, I recommend placing a rimmed sheet pan filled with 1 inch of water on the lower rack of your oven, directly below your cheesecake. This method will guarantee that no water sneaks into your phyllo crust.
Top 5 Tips for Baklava Cheesecake
- For a smooth cheesecake consistency, it is important to bring the cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs to room temperature before mixing them together.
- Phyllo dough is very forgiving, but it does not like to dry out. To prevent this, keep it covered with a slightly damp towel when not using, and store it in the refrigerator.
- To ensure that your cheesecake has a crispy crust, bake each layer until it is golden and crispy.
- For best results, add the syrup and nut topping to the cheesecake shortly before serving.
- This cheesecake is best served and cut when it is cold, so there is no need to bring it to room temperature before serving.
Baklava Cheesecake: Make Ahead, Storage, and Freezing
Baklava cheesecake can be made up to 2 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator. When you are ready to serve, drizzle the orange and rose water syrup on top of the cheesecake and sprinkle with your chopped pistachios.
This cheesecake can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days. I recommend freezing it if it is any longer than that.
This cheesecake freezes beautifully. I recommend covering it with plastic wrap, and then a layer of foil on top. This will help it stay fresh until you are ready to eat it again. Simply take it out of the freezer and cut a slice with a sharp knife.
Best Baklava Cheesecake Recipe
- 1 springform tin pan
- pastry brush
- 1 package phyllo dough
- 12 tablespoon butter, melted (8 tablespoon for brushing phyllo dough, 4 tablespoon for nut filling)
- 1 cup unsalted pistachios, ground
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
Orange and Rose Water Syrup
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 slice orange
- 2 teaspoon rose water
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease the bottom and sides of the springform pan with butter. I recommend wrapping the bottom of your pan with foil to prevent any liquids from leaking out during baking.
Make the first layer of crust:
- Layer 6-8 sheets of phyllo dough in the springform pan, liberally brushing each layer with melted butter.
- Tuck or trim the overhang and add it to the top of the phyllo dough sheet, pressing down gently.
- Use a fork to poke a few holes in the top of the phyllo dough.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 5-10 minutes, or until the phyllo dough is golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven.
Add a second layer to the crust:
- Stir together the ground pistachios, cinnamon, and cardamom and remove 1 tablespoon of this mixture to reserve for the topping later.
- Add the powdered sugar and melted butter, stirring until well combined.
- Layer this mixture on top of the first crust, then add 6-8 more sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each sheet with melted butter as you go.
- Again, tuck or trim the overhang and poke a few holes in the top of the phyllo dough.
- Bake at 400 degrees F for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the phyllo dough is golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven.
Make the cream cheese filling:
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
- In a large bowl, or a stand mixer, whip the sugar and cream cheese together on medium speed, then add the eggs, vanilla and sour cream.
- Once you have a smooth and creamy cream cheese mixture, pour it over the phyllo crust.
- To prevent the crust from burning, place a strip of foil around the outer edge of the pan, just covering the crust.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes at 325 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- The baklava cheesecake should still be slightly jiggly and golden brown in color. Remove from the oven and carefully take the springform ring off the cheesecake.
Make the decorative crust:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut 2-3 sheets of phyllo dough into 4-inch wide ribbons.
- Brush each ribbon with melted butter and twist into a decorative pattern.
- Arrange the twisted phyllo ribbons on top of the cheesecake.
- Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until the phyllo ribbons are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely.
- Cover the baklava cheesecake with loose plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Make the orange and rose water syrup:
- In a pot, combine the water, sugar and orange slice.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce your heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until your syrup has thickened slightly.
- Add the rose water, then remove from heat and let cool completely.
- Drizzle the syrup over the top of the baklava cheesecake and brush it on the sides.
- Sprinkle with the reserved pistachio, cardamom, and cinnamon mixture. Serve and enjoy!