White Chocolate and Halvah Hanukkah Cheesecake
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 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
1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Have a 9" or 10" springform pan at hand.
2. Make phyllo crust: With a pastry brush, brush one sheet of phyllo lightly with melted butter. Line pan with phyllo, allowing excess to hang over edges of pan. Repeat, brushing each sheet with melted butter, until the crust has five layers. (If your brand of phyllo is smaller in dimension, do same procedure but overlap leaves to achieve excess draping or overhang).
3. Make filling: In a mixing bowl, on low speed, beat cream cheese with sugar, condensed milk, lemon juice, eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract until smooth, about 5 minutes.- Fold in white chocolate, halvah chunks, salt and almonds. Pour into prepared crust.
4. Fold over phyllo overhang to rest on top of batter. Garnish middle with ground halvah. Bake until cake is set, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan, set on wire rack, completely. Remove and chill cake until firm, overnight.
5. To serve, arrange chocolate curls or shavings in center of cake and then sift confectioners' sugar over top.