The Kitchy Kitchen is the brainchild of food enthusiast and self-taught chef Claire Thomas. With a focus on new spins on classic meals, the site provides unfussy recipes. Thomas has amassed notoriety in the culinary world, as host of Food for Thought With Claire Thomas on ABC and author of The Kitchy Kitchen: New Classics for Living Deliciously. Here, Thomas will be providing original recipes every month for MyDomaine readers to experience their own Kitchy Kitchen at home.
On a recent trip to Toronto, I decided to drop into the best Greek spot in town. There, I tried the perfect cheesecake. It was nothing like the familiar classic New York variety with the graham cracker crust and dense texture. No, this was a lighter version with an airy, fluffy crust. I spent more time than I’d like to admit looking up "Greek shredded wheat" until I discovered kataifi, a thinly sliced filo dough that spins into golden brown tufts of pure crunch. This was the base of the cheesecake and the source of its perfect light crisp.
When I ventured to make this dessert myself, I based the cheesecake off of an old recipe from the '50s, filled with far more egg and cream than more contemporary versions. I also, stupidly, baked the filling and crust together, ruining the perfectly crisp crust. You have to bake the two separately to get the amazing contrast of textures. Although it seems a bit labor-intensive, I promise it's easy once you separate the two tasks. Keep scrolling to learn how to make this incredible Greek cheesecake recipe for yourself!
1/2 lb. kataifi (or filo dough, thinly sliced)
4 oz. (one stick) butter
6 cups Greek yogurt, plus more to garnish
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Melt the butter, and brush the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform baking pan. (You will have butter left over.)
Unroll the kataifi dough and work it with your hands, tearing apart the shreds and gently spreading the strands so you get a fluffy pile of dough.
Spread the kataifi on the bottom of the pan, about a 1/2 inch deep. Brush heavily with butter.
Bake for about one hour on the middle rack until golden brown and crisp. Set aside to cool, and then remove from the pan.
In a standing mixer with paddle attachment, whip yogurt and beat in the sugar and honey. Continue beating until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in heavy cream. If at all lumpy, strain through sieve.
Pour into the (now empty) pan. Bake at 325°F for one hour.
Leave the cheesecake in the oven for one hour after baking. Remove and let cool to room temperature. Chill in the fridge for at least four hours.
Open the springform pan and flip the cheesecake onto the kataifi crust. Garnish with yogurt.
Plate Your Cheesecake in Style
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This story was originally published on July 29, 2016 and has since been updated.