Kataifi Cheesecake Nests
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Light, crunchy, and easy to make, Kataifi Cheesecake Nests are a delightful springtime treat. Kataifi is finely shredded phyllo dough and can be found in the frozen section of most specialty grocery stores, and is absolutely perfect for making little nests to fill with Easter candies.

The thawed Kataifi is lightly tossed with butter, sugar, and cinnamon and formed into nests to bake. The bottom of each nest holds a surprise layer of sugared walnuts which is topped with a spoonful of a lemony cream cheese mixture and then baked a second time. Just before serving sprinkle a few more sugared walnuts on top and nestle in some candies to resemble little birds eggs.
Recipe type: Dessert | Cheesecake
Ingredients
Sugared Walnuts:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1½ cups walnuts, coarsely chopped
Kataifi Nests:
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 ounces (½ package) Kataifi (shredded phyllo dough), thawed according to package instructions
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
Cheesecake Filling:
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
Garnish:
  • Small candy-coated candies such as jelly beans, M&Ms, malted eggs, or Jordan almonds
Instructions
Sugared Walnuts:
  1. 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. Add the chopped walnuts and stir to coat the walnuts with the sugar mixture. Cook the walnuts over low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until lightly toasted, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Set aside.
Kataifi Nests:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare two standard 12-cup muffin pans. Lightly grease each cup with shortening or nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon; stir to mix. Set aside.
  3. Place the Kataifi in a large mixing bowl. Tightly wrap the leftover Kataifi and refrigerate or refreeze for future use.
  4. Pull the Kataifi apart to separate any clumps. Don’t worry about the Kataifi breaking or tangling, this will make the nests look more realistic. Drizzle the melted butter over the Kataifi and gently toss with your hands to evenly coat. Sprinkle the sugar-cinnamon mixture over the Kataifi, and gently toss again with your hands until evenly coated.
  5. Divide the Kataifi mixture evenly among the 24 muffin cups. Gently shape the Kataifi to form a nest in each cup, completely lining the bottom and sides of each cup.
  6. Bake: Bake the nests until the Kataifi is golden brown, about 10 minutes; the nests will shrink a bit. Remove from oven and place on a wire cooling rack to cool.
  7. Reduce oven to 325 degrees F.
Cheesecake Filling:
  1. In a large bowl, add the cream cheese and sugar; mix on medium low speed with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly and there are no lumps.
  2. Add the lemon juice and vanilla; continue beating on medium low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Add the eggs; beat until thoroughly combined, 1 to 2 minutes.
Assembly:
  1. Sprinkle 1 to 2 teaspoons of the sugared walnuts in the bottom of each Kataifi nest to cover the bottom of the nest. Reserve the remainder of the sugared walnuts to sprinkle on top before serving.
  2. Spoon a heaping tablespoon (or more if the nest will hold more) of the cheesecake filling into each nest. Tip: Pour any leftover cheesecake filling into a ramekin to bake and enjoy as a separate treat.
  3. Bake: Bake the nests 20 to 25 minutes, or until the filling is set and slightly puffy. Remove from oven, and place on a wire cooling rack to cool slightly. Use a small offset spatula to gently lift the nests out of the pan and place on a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Garnish:
  1. Just before serving, sprinkle some of the remaining sugared walnuts on top of each nest, along with 3 or 4 of the candies.
  2. The Kataifi nests are best served freshly baked, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator before serving.
Adapted From: Usher, Julia, Cookie Swap, Gibbs Smith, Utah, 2009
Recipe Notes
Pan: Two Standard 12-Cup Muffin Pans Pan Prep: Lightly Greased Starting Oven Temp: 375° Yield: 24 Nests Storage: Cover and Refrigerate

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Recipe by at https://thebakingpan.com/recipes/cheesecake/kataifi-cheesecake-nests/