Submitted by : Amnah @ littlelifeofmine.com viaThe Art of Armenian & Middle Eastern Cooking
1 12 oz. package of sugar cookies, crumbled fine (I used Nilla wafers)
1/2 c. butter, softened
4 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1 c. sugar
1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla, optional (I skipped this)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
10 sheets of fillo dough
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup Arabic attar, or simple syrup, or light corn syrup, heated
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. To prepare crust: Pulse cookies in a food processor to form fine crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, use a rolling pin to crush the cookies in a large ziplock bag. If using a food processor, add the 1/2 cup softened butter and pulse until incorporated. No processor, mix with a fork or by hand. Really get it in there.
- Press crumbs on bottom and up sides of 9 inch spring-form pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
- To prepare the cheesecake: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar on high speed about 10 minutes (in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer) until fluffy. Add the lemon juice, vanilla (if using), and one egg at a time. Beat until smooth.
- To prepare baklawa: Combine walnuts, sugar, butter and cinnamon in a bowl and mix until crumbly. Note: I did not get crumbly. I got a ball of butter with walnuts in it. I proceeded anyways. Next time I think I’ll reduce the butter to 1/4 cup. Cut fillo sheets into 9 inch rounds. I used my spring-form pan as a stencil. Using the warm melted butter, brush 5 sheets of fillo individually and set on top of the cheesecake filling. (Brush sheet with butter, place on top, brush sheet with butter, place on top, etc.)
- On top of the first 5 sheets of fillo dough rounds, sprinkle with the baklawa walnut mixture. The recipe says “sprinkle”, I flattened mounds in my hand and placed them on top. Butter and layer 5 sheets of fillo and place on top. Important: I missed the following next step! Just noticed it as I’m typing out the recipe. Layer and butter another 5 fillo sheets, lightly score into 10 equal sections without cutting all the way to center or outer edge. Place on top of cheesecake.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until golden brown. My cheesecake was still a bit jiggly, so I turned off the oven and left the door slightly ajar with a wooden spoon for 20-30 minutes. Spoon warm simple syrup over cheesecake while still warm. (Since I unknowingly skipped the scoring step, my syrup just fell off the sides.) Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight for best results before slicing.