Halvah ‘n Honey Filo Cheesecake
This cake takes the award as the Most Dramatic and is for those who enjoy very smooth cheesecakes with a Middle Eastern accent
12 filo pastry leaves
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon sesame seed oil
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons yogurt
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup pistachio nuts, optional, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup vanilla halvah, chopped coarsely
1/2 cup finely chopped pistachio nuts
1/4 cup sesame seeds, lightly toasted
2-3 tablespoons honey, warmed,
Use a 9 or 10 inch springform pan. Preheat oven to 350 F.
Filo Crust: Butter one sheet of filo lightly with melted butter. Line pan with filo, allowing excess to overhang edges of pan. Repeat, brushing each leaf with melted butter, to layer another four leaves of filo on top of each other, starting from centre of pan, and pressing into pan, and allowing excess to drape over sides. (If your brand filo is smaller in dimension, do the same procedure but overlap leaves to achieve excess draping or overhang). Reserve remaining leaves for garnishing top after baking.
Filling: Cream the cheese with the eggs, yolk, sugar, honey, vanilla, yogurt, sesame oil, and flour until smooth. Stir in nuts and chopped halvah. Pour into prepared shell. Trim filo overhang to just rest on rim of pan.
Bake until cake is set, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut remaining filo leaves in quarters and brush with butter.
Remove cake from oven and increase temperature to 400 Degrees F. Arrange buttered filo leaves on top of cake in an irregular patchwork of filo pieces. Cake surface should be covered and return to oven to brown, approximately 8-10 minutes. Remove and chill cake until set, overnight.
To serve, warm honey and drizzle over cake then garnish with toasted sesame seeds and additional ground or chopped pistachios.