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Baklawa

This dessert may look impressive and complicated, but it is honestly one of the easiest and quickest sugary treats out there

I doubt there is anyone who isn’t familiar with baklawa, or as most call it, baklava. It has gained popularity all over the world. Variations of this crispy dessert are made in a number of countries, including in the Middle Eastern, Turkey, Greece, Iran, Armenia and even the Balkans.

This dessert may look impressive and complicated, but it is honestly one of the easiest and quickest sugary treats out there. The only tip I would give people making it is if you want to use a food processor to chop your nuts, make sure you only pulse them and don’t over chop because you’ll end up with nut butter! Also, don’t be afraid to experiment with different spices, flavourings and fillings. My favourite is the pistachio filling, but we are seeing different versions of baklawa everywhere. Walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts and hazelnuts are all traditional; chocolate covered baklawa isn’t but that definitely doesn’t make it any less delicious!

Most people make their baklawa with two layers of dough and a nut filling in between, but I personally like thicker baklawa with more nuts, so I prefer 3 layers of dough and two layers of nuts, but of course how you make yours is your choice. Enjoy it with a cup of tea or better yet, in the summer, you can enjoy it the way the Turks do: topped with ice cream.

Ingredients

  • 15 sheets of filo pastry (cut to the size of your baking dish)
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • Simple syrup

Walnut filling

  • 300g walnuts (finely chopped)
  • 4-5 tbsp sugar (or to taste)
  • 1.5 tbsp ground cinnamon (or to taste)

 

Pistachio filling

  • 300g pistachios (finely chopped)
  • 3 tbsp simple syrup (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp ground mastic (optional)
  • ½ tsp orange blossom water (optional)

 

Instructions

  1. Lightly brush your baking dish with butter. Start to layer the first five filo sheets in the tray, lightly brushing each with melted butter before layering the next one.
  2. Place half of the filling over the first five filo sheets. Make sure it is spread evenly.
  3. Layer the next five filo sheets, brushing with butter as you go.
  4. Add the rest of the filling and top with the remaining 5 filo sheets.
  5. Cut the dough in the shape you like before baking.
  6. Bake at 180C for 15-20 minutes or until browned and crispy.
  7. Pour simple syrup to taste, allow to cool completely, serve and enjoy.
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