The spicy, nut- and honey-filled baklava is a Middle Eastern dessert that is a favourite the world over. Try out our cheesecake version to absolutely wow your guests the next time you have a get-together.
300g ginger biscuits
100g butter, at room temperature, chopped
1 cup mascarpone
3 cups cream cheese
1 cup caster sugar
⅓ cup flour
1½ tsp vanilla essence
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp orange essence
1 tbsp honey
3 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1½ cups chopped nuts
2 figs, quartered, to garnish
1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
2. Combine the ginger biscuits and butter in a food processor.
3. Line a 24 cm cake tin and press in the biscuit crust to form a base.
4. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and leave to cool. Lower the oven temperature to 140ºC.
5. Place the mascarpone, cream cheese, eggs, caster sugar, flour, and a teaspoon of the vanilla essence in a food processor. Process until smooth, being careful not to overmix.
6. Pour the mixture into the cooled biscuit base and bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in there to continue cooking for another hour. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature before refrigerating for a further hour.
7. Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat.
8. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the remaining vanilla essence, lemon juice, orange essence, honey, cardamom and cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes, until the syrup has become sticky.
9. Remove from the heat, add the nuts and allow to cool.
10. Top the cheesecake with fresh figs and drizzle with the nut syrup just before serving.