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 usual 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.
Kataifi is 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 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 labored, I promise it's easy once you separate the two tasks. Keep scrolling to learn how to make this incredible cheesecake for yourself!
1/2 lb. kataifi (or filo dough, very 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
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Melt the butter, and brush the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform baking pan. (You will have butter left over.)
3. 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.
4. Spread the kataifi on the bottom of the pan, about a 1/2 inch deep. Brush heavily with butter.
5. Bake for about 1 hour on the middle rack until golden brown and crisp. Set aside to cool, and then remove from the pan.
6. In a standing mixer with paddle attachment, whip yogurt and beat in the sugar and honey. Continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
7. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in heavy cream. If at all lumpy, strain through sieve.
8. Pour into the (now empty) pan. Bake at 325°F for 1 hour.
9. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour after baking. Remove and let cool to room temperature. Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
7. Open the springform pan and flip the cheesecake onto the kataifi crust. Garnish with yogurt.
Now, are you ready to whip up your own perfect cheesecake? Here are our favorite plating essentials to serve the perfect piece:
What’s your favorite take on this classic dessert?