Baklava. Aromatic, sweet, nutty….It really is more, much more, than the sum of it’s parts.
I’ve been away for the past couple of weeks, visiting family in the USA. While I was away I missed my husband’s 50th birthday. I know, I know how awful that sounds, but it was a rushed trip to rally around my American family on account of a bereavement…
His favourite sweet, aside from my Mum’s semolina cake, is my baklava, though truth be told, I don’t make it half as often as I want to! It’s far too tempting to have in the house. :D
1. First we need a packet of filo (phyllo pastry) which has around 15-20 sheets of filo leaves. As my baking dish is only small and narrow ( 30cm x 20cm) one packet was enough, as each sheet could be doubled over to fit the dish perfectly.
2. Melt approximately half a cup of butter, this doesn’t need to be a precise amount, as all we are doing is brushing it over each sheet of filo and around the dish before we start layering.
3. Layer around 10 sheets of filo in the buttered dish, brushing each sheet with a thin layer of butter as you go.
4. Mix 2 cups of chopped nuts, with 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 tbsp (level) of ground cinnamon. Spread over the buttered filo.
5. Carry on layering the buttered filo sheets until they are all used. Spread butter over the top one too.
6. Cut with a sharp knife into either diamonds (traditional) or rectangles if you think diamond-cutting is a step too far ;)
You should end up with approximately 16-18 pieces.
7. Make a simple syrup by boiling 2 cups of water with 1.5 cups of sugar for 10 minutes, then add 1tbsp of orange flower water, or rose water.
Leave aside to cool.
8. Bake the baklava for 20 mins at 180 deg. C (fan oven) before turning down to 140 deg. C and cooking for a further 30-40 minutes.
The baklava should be a deep golden-brown before removing it from the oven.
9. Leave for 10 minutes, then pour over the fragrant syrup.
10. Allow to cool! You don’t want to burn your mouth now, do you? :D