Updated: May 20
Make sure you have lots of time on your hands when making this recipe. It is a great dessert to serve if you are having a big crowd. It certainly is a show stopper!
• 1¼ cups caster sugar
• 3/4 cup water
• ½ cup runny honey
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 150g blanched almonds, toasted in an oven (you can also use a mix of pecan nuts, walnuts or skinless hazelnuts)
• 500g Philadelphia cream cheese
• 1 cup sour cream
• 2 extra-large eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
• 10 sheets phyllo pastry
• 125g butter, melted
Start by making the syrup. In a pot, mix ½ cup of the caster sugar with the water, honey and cinnamon in a pot. You can also add a cinnamon stick or two cloves and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Over a medium heat bring the water and sugar to boil (before bringing to the boil, stir until the sugar dissolves otherwise the syrup will crystalize). Simmer for 10 minutes until slightly reduced and thickened. Set aside to cool.
Chop the nuts and place in a bowl. Take ¼ cup of the syrup mixture and add it to the nuts. Keep the rest of the syrup for the end.
In a separate bowl, beat the remaining 150g caster sugar with the cream cheese, sour cream and eggs. Add the vanilla essence and mix until smooth.
Line the base and sides of a 25cm springform cake tin with greaseproof paper, with the edges hanging over the sides. Brush a sheet of phyllo pastry with melted butter and fold in half, lengthways. Line the cake tin with this, with the edges of the phyllo hanging over the sides. Repeat with the remaining phyllo sheets.
Note, the phyllo pastry crust may dry out as you are working so either work fast or shape the phyllo pastry crust as you are placing the sheets in the tin.
When the phyllo pastry has been done, pour half the cream cheese mixture over the phyllo pastry. Top with half the nutty syrup mixture. Add the remaining cream cheese, then the remaining nuts. You can make extra nuts if you would like a thicker layer on top.
If the phyllo sheets have not already dried out, fold the overhanging phyllo inwards, forming a raised crust over the cheesecake.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 150°C for 60-70 minutes, until just set in the centre but still wobbly. Turn off the oven, open the door and allow the cheesecake to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Just before serving, pour over the remaining syrup.