Baklava

So I had planned to bake something pretty extravagant this week, but then I went and shattered the glass bowl of my stand mixer. Again. Luckily, a friend had lent me her copy of ‘Food Safari’ and in amongst all of the new dinner ideas was this recipe for baklava and I’m so glad I tried it.

I’m sure everyone is familiar with baklava. Most likely originating in Istanbul, it is a dessert made of many layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and scented with orange blossom and/or rosewater. A hot syrup made of sugar or honey is poured onto the baked baklava and allowed to soak in, resulting in the most divine, flaky treat.

I was hoping to make a strictly pistachio version, but dang, pistachios are expensive. I went 50% walnuts and 50% pistachios and it turned out amazing. Plus there are around 35 sheets of pastry making it super flaky. There was something really soothing about brushing all of those layers with melted butter, so put away your stand mixer and go old school with this one.

Ingredients

3c walnuts or pistachios or a mix of both
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons orange blossom water
1 teaspoon rosewater
175g butter, melted
375g filo pastry

Method

Blitz the nuts in the food processor until they’re finely chopped.
Tip into a bowl and mix with the sugar, orange blossom water and rosewater.

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Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Brush a Swiss roll tin (20x30cm) with the melted butter. Add a layer of filo in the base of the tray and brush with melted butter. Keep layering and brushing until you’ve used half of the filo.

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Spread the nut mixture in an even layer on top and brush with butter.
Continue layering with the remaining filo.
Carefully cut the baklava into diamond shapes . You can do this by cutting the baklava into strips lengthwise, then cutting on an angle as per the photos below.

Drizzle with melted butter then bake for around 45-55 minutes, or until the baklava is golden brown. Prepare the syrup while the baklava is baking.

Ingredients 

2c sugar
250ml water
½ teaspoon orange blossom water
½ teaspoon rosewater
squeeze of lemon juice

Method 

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
Simmer for 15 minutes, until slightly thickened, then remove from the heat and stir in the orange blossom water, rosewater and lemon juice.
Remove the baklava from the oven and pour the hot syrup over evenly. Allow to cool before serving.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Notes

  • Barely adapted from Amal Malouf.
  • I found everything I needed at my local Persian grocery store.

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