We have a group of friends who get together over the winter months for potluck, MKR-type dinners (without the competition). This past weekend, the theme was Eastern Mediterranean, and immediately, Tall and I started discussing baklava.
Our local Turkish takeaway does amazing meals, and Tall thinks their baklava is especially tasty. I don’t like baklava (it’s the honey), but naturally, I was up for the challenge.
This is a dessert that looks much more complicated than it actually is. The fiddliest bit is brushing each sheet of filo pastry with melted butter without tearing it; once you get into the swing of the layering, it takes no time at all. It isn’t a cheap dish to make in New Zealand, given the price of pistachios (I paid $3.79/70g on special, which is why I used a combination – the walnuts were about half that!)
This recipe is my interpretation of a few recipes found online, and from the amount left (or not left!), I’d say it was pretty successful.
Baklava – makes 25-30 pieces
375g filo pastry
100g butter, melted
380g nuts – I used around 250g pistachios, 130g walnuts, but you can use any combination you like
1t vanilla essence
1/2c liquid honey
coarsely chopped zest of 1 orange & 1 lemon
Chop the nuts in a food processor until they reach a breadcrumb-like consistency. Combine with cinnamon and set aside.
Preheat oven to 170degC. Grease a 23cm x 33cm baking dish.
Cut the filo sheets to fit the size of your dish – the packet I used simply needed to be cut in half.
Take one sheet and brush with melted butter; place another sheet of pastry on top and brush with butter again. Repeat until you have layered 8 sheets of pastry, ensuring you have buttered the top of the eighth sheet.
Place the stack into the dish and sprinkle evenly with around 3T of the nut mixture.
Top with 2 sheets of layered and buttered pastry, and repeat until you have used the last of the nut mixture. Top with a stack of 6-8 sheets of pastry (as for the bottom).
Using a sharp knife, cut the baklava into quarters, vertically, before cutting on the diagonal to form distinct baklava “diamonds”.
Bake for 50 minutes, until golden brown.
Meanwhile, stir the syrup ingredients together over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, until reduced to a thick syrup.
Pour over the baklava as soon as it comes out of the oven; leave to cool in the dish. Don’t cover it, otherwise it will go soggy.
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