White Chocolate and Halvah Hanukkah Cheesecake
White Chocolate and Halvah Hanukkah Cheesecake (based on a recipe sent to me by a friend)
6 leaves phyllo pastry
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter,
2 pounds cream cheese, at room
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
4 ounces white chocolate or semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup coarsely chopped marble or chocolate halvah
Tiny pinch of salt
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 cup very finely ground marble halvah
White or semisweet chocolate shavings
Put your oven rack in the center of your oven and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. For this cheesecake, you may use a 9" or 10" springform pan.
First you will be making a phyllo dough crust. Brush one sheet of phyllo lightly with melted sweet butter using a pastry brush. Line the springform with the phyllo and let the excess hang over the edge of the pan. Repeat 4 more times so that you have a crust with five layers. If your phyllo dough is smaller in size, you will need to use more leaves and overlap so that there is draping or overhang.
Next you will make the cheesecake filling. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with sugar, condensed milk, lemon juice, vanilla extract and almond extract until smooth, about 5 minutes. Then, on low speed quickly beat in the eggs just until they are incorporated into the batter.
Quickly, fold in the melted white or semisweet chocolate, the halvah chunks, pinch of salt and toasted sliced almonds. Pour into prepared crust.
Finally, fold over the phyllo dough overhang to rest on top of batter. Do not push down too hard because you do not want the cream cheese batter to leak out. Garnish the middle of the cake with ground halvah. Bake the cheesecake until it is set, about 45 minutes. On a wire rack, cool the cheesecake in the springform pan. Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and chill the cheesecake overnight.
For garnish, and to serve, place chocolate curls or chocolate shavings in the middle of the cheesecake and then sift powdered sugar over top.