Sweet Cheese Baklava

This is my mother’s recipe for her sweet ‘cheese’ baklava.  It’s not really cheese inside, but the consistency of the Farina and half & half becomes cheese-like.  These are a nice change-up from the usual nutty baklava.  

INGREDIENTS

  • Filo dough
  • Unsalted butter, melted

FILLING

  • 4 cups half & half
  • 1 1/3 cups Farina
  • 1/2 cup sugar
SYRUP
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

HOW TO MAKE IT

FILLING

  • Bring the half & half to a simmer and then add in the sugar and stir
  • Slowly add in the Farina and keep stirring until everything is well combined and the mixture begins to thicken
  • Pour the mixture into a baking dish to cool
SYRUP
  • Pour the water into small sauce pan over medium-high heat
  • Add in the sugar, keep stirring and bring to a boil
  • Reduce the heat, add in the lemon juice and keep stirring over medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken and become syrup-like
  • Be careful not to burn the syrup, it should remain a light color like light corn syrup, not golden brown like caramel or maple syrup
  • Add the rose water in and blend well – take off the heat and allow to cool
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER…
  • Take your defrosted fillo dough out and unfold it onto a working surface (keep the stack of dough covered with a damp – but not wet! – towel to prevent it from becoming dry and brittle)
  • Depending on the dimensions of your sheet, you may need to cut them in half so your sheet has a width of about 7.5 in.
  • Take a sheet with the 7.5 in. width and brush it with butter
  • Then, fold the sheet over into thirds so you’re left with a long strip that’s only 2.5 in. wide
  • Place about 1 tbsp of Farina mixture at the end of your fillo strip and roll it up into triangles, like a paper football – or American flag
  • If your dough seems dry and needs help sticking, brush it with additional butter
  • Place the triangle pieces onto a greased baking pan
  • Bake at 350°F for approximately 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
  • Once the baklava has cooled a bit, drizze the syrup on top of them and enjoy!