Baklava


I made baklava for the first time today. This is the fist time I’ve baked with filo pastry and I think my first attempt was admirable. I learned a lot and know what to do for round 2 to make a superb batch! I’ve adjusted the recipe below so should you decide to make it your first batch should turn out excellent!


Baklava Tips

Chop the nuts finely – Using a food processor is the easiest way but don’t over process the nuts to dust
Grease the bottom of the pan you are using
Butter every layer of filo
Cut before baking
Remove from pan after baking so pieces don’t become soggy
Don’t cover with a lid

Baklava
adapted from McCalls Cooking School

Ingredients

Syrup
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup honey
2 cinnamon sticks
4 lemon slices
4 orange slices

18 sheets filo pastry
2 cups finely chopped walnuts
1 cup finely chopped almonds
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups melted butter


1. To make the syrup, in a medium saucepan combine the sugar and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Add the honey, cinnamon stick and lemon and orange slices. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes uncovered. Strain and set aside to cool.

2. Preheat oven to 325 F/160 C. Remove pastry sheets from package and place a damp cloth over them to keep them from drying out.
I bought 3 packages

3. In a small bowl mix almonds, walnuts, 3/4 cup sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
I could have processed my nuts a bit more

4. Grease a medium sized roasting pan and place one filo sheet down. Using a pastry brush butter the top. Place down another sheet and butter the top. Continue until there are 8-10 sheets then spread the nut mixture evenly across the pan.
The alternative is to spread 1/3 of the mixture, place 2 sheets, 1/3 of the nuts, 2 more sheets and then the remaining nuts. I did this and I found it too messy and hard to handle when cut.

5. Place a sheet on top of the nuts, brush with melted butter and place another sheet on top. Continue layering until there are 8-10 layers on top.

6. With a sharp knife cut through all the layers making diagonal cuts about 1 1/2 inches apart. Cut going the other way to make diamond sized pieces. With a knife trim pastry from around the sides.
7. Bake for 60 minutes, turn off the oven and leave tray in for another 60 minutes. Pastry should be golden and puffy.

8. Pour the cooled syrup over the hot baklava. Let cool and absorb the syrup. Remove from pan before pieces become soggy. Place in a container but don’t snap on a tight lid.

Options
Baklava can be made using any kind of nut should you not fancy walnuts and almond. You could try pistachios or Cashews. If you don’t care for citrus try adding orange blossom or rose water instead!
Enjoy!

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