Kataifi Cheesecake Nests
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Kataifi Cheesecake Nests

This dish is a delightful Easter treat... light, crunchy, delicately flavoured and super simple to make. Kataifi is finely shredded phyllo dough, and can be found in the frozen foods section of most specialty grocery stores.

Nirmala Prem

Ingredients

24-serving
  1. 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 1/4 packed brown sugar firmly soft light Cup
  3. 1 1/2 Cups walnuts , coarsely chopped
  4. 1/4 Cup sugar granulated
  5. 1 Teaspoon cinnamon ground
  6. 8 package kataifi , thawed according to instructions Ounces
  7. 1/4 Cup butter , melted
  8. 16 Ounces cream cheese , at room temperature
  9. 3/4 Cup sugar granulated
  10. 2 Tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
  11. 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  12. 2 eggs free range
  13. sugar chocolate eggs almonds coated mini or jordan

Method

45 mins
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    In a large skillet on the stovetop, melt the butter over low heat. when the butter is completely melted, stir in the brown sugar until thoroughly combined.

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    Add the chopped walmuts to the sugar mixture and toss well. cook the walnuts over low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until lightly toasted, about 7 minutes.

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    Remove from heat and let cool. the sugar should set and harden around the walnut pieces. set aside.

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    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. prepare two standard 12 cup muffin pans by lightly greasing with shortening or non-stick spray (i use PAM).

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    For the nests, in a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. set aside.

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    Place the kataifi in a large mixing bowl. pull the strands apart gently to separate any clumps. its ok if the strands break or get tangled, it only makes the nests more rustic and real looking.

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    Drizzle the melted butter over the kataifi and gently toss with your hands so as to coat every strand evenly.sprinkle the sugar-cinnamon mixture over the katafi and toss again.

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    Divide the kataifi mixture evenly among the 24 cups. gently shape it with your hands to look like little nests, completely lining the bottom and sides.

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    Bake the nests till the kataifi turns a light golden brown colour, approximately 10 minutes. the nests will shrink a bit as they cook, this is normal. let the nests cool in the muffin tins for 10 minutes.

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    Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

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    In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and sugar using an electric mixer on low speed until smooth and creamy. add the lemon juice and vanilla, and continue beating on medium till incorporated. next, add the eggs and beat on medium-high speed till well combined, and no lumps.

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    To assemble the nests, place 1 to 2 teaspoons of the sugared walnuts in the base of each nest. spoon a heaping tablespoon of the cheesecake mixture into the nest on top of the walnuts.

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    Bake the nests for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheesecake mixture is set and slightly puffy. remove from the oven and let them cool in the pans for 10 to 15 minutes. then gently lift each nest out of the muffin tins using an offset spatula and place on a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

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    Before serving, decorate the nests with the mini chocolate eggs (i used miniature milk chocolate eggs with a sugar-candy coating) or the jordan almonds.

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    This treat is best served freshly baked, or store in an airtight container and refrigerate if making ahead.

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