Crisp pastry with deliciously sweet nuts with the amazing flavours of spices and the slight perfume of rose water. Baklava is not your standard treat, there is definitely a sense of luxury when eating it!
I have been very busy lately which is why I didn’t join in last week with #GreatBloggersBakeOff. I spent last Sunday with my Mum making labels ready for my chutneys that I am selling for people to give as presents or enjoy themselves around Christmas. I have been so happy and slightly surprised with how many people have placed orders already. So much so that I have had to order lots more jars to meet the demand! Because of this, I have been spending the majority of my spare time making the chutneys which has meant everything else has taken a back seat. I was looking forward to making doughnuts last week for #GreatBloggersBakeOff but I ran out of time. I have had a doughnut baking tray for a couple of months now which I am dying to use so I will be making doughnuts as soon as I can!
Week 9 of GBBO was patisserie which is something I have never even contemplated trying before. The technical bake and showstopper looked a little bit time consuming which wasn’t what I was looking for, so I decided to make baklava. Like in the show, I have no idea what the correct way to pronounce it is! I didn’t want to mess around with the recipe and wanted to keep it quite traditional. My idea of baklava is filo with pistachios with a syrup flavoured with rose water and honey. There seem to be a lot of slightly different variations out there, but I eventually found a recipe that incorporated all of the ingredients I associate with baklava. I did end up slightly tweaking the recipe but the original one was found at http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/607184. I obviously used ready-made filo pastry. I can’t see myself ever feeling the need to make it myself!
My manager at work has been suggesting baklava as something I could make for months now so when it came up on GBBO, there was no escaping it! I can’t remember ever eating baklava before, so finger’s crossed I like it!
For the baklava
300g shelled pistachio nuts
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
250g filo pastry
140g butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC
- Grind the nuts in a food processor until they are coarsely ground and then mix in the cinnamon
- Lightly butter a 23cm square baking dish. Unfold the pastry and cut it in half, keep it under a damp tea towel to stop it drying out. Start layering the filo into the dish lying one sheet vertically and the next horizontally making sure you brush each layer with the melted butter. After four sheets, scatter with a layer of the nuts. Repeat this until you have used up all of your nuts and filo
- When you have finished, brush the top with melted butter and trim off the filo that is hanging over the tin. Cut diagonal lines right down to the bottom of the tin. The pastry will be too flaky when it comes out of the oven to cut which is why you cut it before it cooks
- Put in the oven for 40-45 minutes until it is golden and crisp. If it is becoming too brown, turn the oven down to 170ºC
- Leave to cool
For the syrup
350g caster sugar
125ml clear honey
1 tsp cinnamon
½ orange zest
1½ tsp rose water
- Put all of the ingredients into a pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until the syrup has reduced by 1/3. Pour the syrup into a jug and let it cool
- When the baklava has come to room temperature, pour half of the syrup down the cuts. Leave this to soak in for 5 minutes or so and then pour the remaining syrup down the cuts
- Leave for at least an hour to let the syrup soak into the baklava
The pastry is deliciously crisp with layers or pistachios smothered with a thick, incredibly sweet syrup with the most amazing flavour which is like nothing I have had before. I think Nigella sums up baklava perfectly “This is so temple-achingly sweet that one small marked-out diamond, or maybe two, is enough. But even so, I love its perfumed sugariness – as much as I love the tender, rose-shot green of its equally fragrant nubbly interior.”
It’s not something you will sit and eat piece after piece, it is so sweet and satisfying that less really is more. This isn’t an everyday dish, but it makes an amazing treat for a special occasion. I am very pleased with how this recipe turned out because I have never used filo before and also because I had a fiddle with the recipe and did it my way.
To see more recipes inspired by GBBO. Please check out www.mummymishaps.co.uk or follow @jennypaulin on Twitter.