Baklava is something I’ve loved since I tasted it… even though I’ve only had it once! Mum brought some back from holiday, I think, and I got to taste a little bit of sticky, nutty heaven. I didn’t expect to like it so much – at the time I hated nuts – but the sugary, syrupy goodness overwhelmed any nut flavour and the divine texture won me over. Whilst the baklava I made didn’t taste entirely the same, it’s still gooey, nutty, tasty pastry goodness. All the more enjoyable because I actually like nuts now =)
One of the main reasons I wanted to make this is that all of the commercial baklavas I’ve been able to find here have pistachios – which Andy is allergic to. Making it at home means using nuts he can eat. I’ve used almonds, pecans and walnuts but you could exchange that for any nut you like – I’ve even heard of people using pine nuts, though they’re technically seeds ;)
- 250g (~12 sheets) filo pastry
- 200g melted butter
- 300g nuts
- 300g caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 85g honey
- 240ml water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp orange flavouring
- Preheat oven to 200°C
- If using whole nuts, chop them in a food processor separately until they’re relatively small chunks but not powdery.
- Add 100g of the sugar to the nuts, as well as the cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly.
- Melt the butter
- Grease a baking tray which is about the size of your filo sheets and around an inch or more deep.
- Place half your filo pastry inside a piece of baking paper with a damp towel – this will stop it from drying out and crumbling whilst you work with the first half.
- Take one sheet of pastry, lay it into the tray and fold any edges in. Brush butter over the sheet quickly.
- Do this for two more sheets.
- Add about one thirds of your nuts, sprinkled over the whole sheet.
- Repeat until you’ve used up your pastry and nuts.
- Take a sharp knife and cut the baklava into small pieces.
- Put the tray into the oven and bake for around 20-30 minutes until it’s golden brown on top.
- Whilst the pastry is cooking, make the syrup.
- Add the rest of the sugar, honey, water, lemon juice and orange flavouring to a saucepan.
- Bring to the boil and keep on the heat until it has thickened a little then set aside to cool.
- Once the pastry is done, bring it out and let it cool; similarly leave the syrup to cool for around ten minutes or so.
- Once both have cooled, pour the syrup into the baklava making sure to cover the top relatively evenly.
- Leave to sit overnight, loosely covered, before eating.
- Many nuts have varying thickness and densities. If you chop the whole lot at the same time you’ll end up with huge chunks of one whilst the other is almost dust.
- I used orange flavouring as I have no access to orange water – if you can get that, you could use it instead.
As an additional note: going on a diet when you’re on a confectionery-making kick is really a terrible idea. I guess I’ll just have to find some willing volunteers to save me from myself and eat it before I end up snarfing the whole lot!