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||| Baklava |||

Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. It is characteristic of the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire and much of central and southwest Asia.

  • 1 packet of Filo pastry
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 4 cups crushed nuts (almonds, walnuts and/or pistachios)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon 
  • Pinch cloves & cardamom

For the syrup:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. orange blossom water (optional)

Take 14 layers of filo pastry and cut to the size of the dish you are going to use. (Always keep the filo pastry under a damp cloth as it dries out very fast.) Put the first layer of filo pastry on a buttered dish and brush with melted butter. Layer 8 layers of filo pastry in all, always brushing with melted butter between each sheet.

Mix the crushed nuts, sugar, cinnamon, cloves & cardamom in a bowl. Put an even layer of nut mixture on top of the filo pastry layers. Cover with 2 layers of filo pastry brushed with butter and cover with another layer of the nut mixture. Finish off with the remaining 4 layers of filo pastry, always with melted butter in between each layer. Finish with butter on top.

Cut into square or diamond shapes and place in a preheated oven (160 degrees Celsius) for 20 minutes or until lightly golden in colour.

While the baklava are in the oven, start making the syrup. Mix sugar, honey, water and cinnamon stick in a small pot and bring to boil. Add lemon juice and orange blossom water. Cover and allow to simmer for 20 minutes without stirring. Remove the cinnamon stick and allow to cool.

Take baklava out of the oven and let it cool. Poor the syrup generously on top and let the baklava to absorb syrup for 4 hours before serving.

Serving suggestion: Baklava is best enjoyed with a cup of strong Turkish coffee or çay.

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