Make the honey drenching syrup first. It needs to reduce on the stove top for 20 minutes and then cool completely. For the cheesecake portion, I used nonfat honey-flavored Greek yogurt, but I'm sure full fat would be wonderful, too. You may also choose to use almonds or pistachios in place of the walnuts in the nut filling, or use a combination of all the above!
2 1/2packages20 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 5.3oz.containersor 300g total Greek yogurt, honey flavor (or plain)
3/4cupgranulated sugar6 oz.
1/2cupbuttermelted (4 oz.)
12-14sheets filo pastry
Stir together the sugar, water and honey in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 20-25 minutes until reduced and syrupy. You should have around 1 3/4 to 2 cups of liquid after cooking. This amount doesn't have to be exact, as long as you're somewhere at or in between. Remove syrup from heat and stir in cinnamon. Let cool completely.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 5-8 minutes in the oven. Let cool, then place 5 oz. of the nuts in a food processor and process in quick bursts until finely chopped. You can also chop them finely with a chef's knife. Transfer the 5 oz. finely chopped nuts to a medium bowl and add 1/2 cup of the drenching syrup, salt and cinnamon. Stir together and set aside. Reserve remaining 1 oz. walnuts for later use.
Process cream cheese, Greek yogurt, sugar and vanilla extract together in the bowl of a food processor. Scrape down sides of the bowl if needed. Process until completely smooth. Add the eggs and process again. Let rest in the bowl while you prepare the filo crust.
Reduce oven heat to 325°F. Release the collar from an 8-inch spring-form pan. Tear off a sheet of parchment paper and place over the base, then re-attach the collar, allowing the baking paper to stick out the bottom edges (see photo). Place the filo sheets on a clean work surface. Working quickly, lightly brush a sheet with butter then fold in half. Lay the sheet inside the pan allowing one end of the pastry to overhang the top edge of the spring-form pan. Repeat process with 9 more sheets of filo; turn and overlap the pieces until the bottom of the pan is completely covered. Cover the remaining sheets of filo with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for later use.
Pour cheesecake batter into the prepared pan. Use a spoon to place dollops of the reserved walnut filling on top of the cheesecake batter. Some dollops will sink to the bottom, some will sit on top of the batter, so don't worry too much about this part looking perfect. The filling will create random ripples of walnut in the baked cheesecake (that's just part of the beauty). Fold the overhanging filo edges onto the cheesecake. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until the center is set. Do not remove cheesecake from the oven - turn off the oven and prop the oven door open (about 5 inches or so) and let the oven cool down completely (about 40 minutes).
Remove cheesecake from the oven and re-heat the oven to 350°F. Brush the remaining 2-4 pieces of filo dough with butter and place them in a crumpled fashion on the top middle of the cheesecake. Bake for 8-10 minutes more or until the newly added filo has turned golden. Cool to room temperature, or chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours. Top cheesecake with drenching syrup and remaining 1 oz. of toasted walnuts. Place leftover syrup in a gravy boat beside the cheesecake. Refrigerate leftovers.
Source: Adapted from taste.com.AU
Keyword cinnamon honey syrup, filo dough, greek yogurt