Flakey filo, meaty nuts and sticky syrup, what more could you ask for? The more you make this dish, the better you get at it. I was recipe testing for this book and brought some of the leftovers to a barbeque. At first it was overlooked and I heard someone say that they didn’t care for it. Half an hour later, the tray was empty and said person was liking his fingers after scoffing his third piece. Enough said.
The secret to avoiding soggy baklava: make the syrup first and leave it to cool, then pour over the baklava when it’s removed from the oven. Alternatively let the baklava cool and pour the hot syrup over. Do not combine when both are hot.
For a vegan version use a light flavoured oil such as light olive oil or coconut for brushing.
For the baklava
18 sheets of ready-made filo pastry
100g butter, plus extra for greasing
300g mixed pistachios and walnuts, roughly chopped
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
For the syrup
200g granulated sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
zest of one orange
Firstly, make the syrup and allow to cool. Put the sugar, water, lemon juice and orange zest in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the sugar has melted and a syrup has formed. This will take about 20 minutes or so.
Preheat the oven to 180°C / Gas Mark 5 and grease a 17 x 28cm (11 x 7 inch) or similar baking tray with butter. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat.
Place the filo on the baking tray, cutting it to fit if need be. Lay 10 sheets of filo pastry, one at a time, into the tray, brushing each sheet with the melted butter before adding the next.
In a bowl, mix together the nuts, sugar and cinnamon and spread the mixture over the pastry in the tray.
Layer up the remaining sheets on top of the nut mixture, brushing each sheet with butter, as before.
Using a sharp knife, cut a criss-cross pattern through the top layers of the pastry; this will make it easier to cut.
Place the baklava in the preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes, then decrease the oven temperature to 150°C and cook for an additional 30-40 minutes, or until the pastry is slightly puffed and golden on top. Do not allow the top to burn; cover with kitchen foil if it turns too quickly.
Remove the baklava from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Pour the syrup into the slits in the baklava and leave to cool completely.
Cut into small diamond-shaped pieces, serve and enjoy!
Have you made this dish? I love seeing my delicious recipes come to life, so share a picture with me on Instagram by tagging @naturalcookeryschool and I’ll re-share your post!