Brave Baklawa

 

Do you remember my brother, Ewan, who made me a lunchtime falafel wrap? Remember how I told you he was a really good in the kitchen? Well, he made me Baklawa last week, so naturally I photographed him and pinched his recipe to post here for all you wonderful people. These aren’t my Mother’s recipe. When I told her we had made them, she said we were very ‘brave’. She normally gets them from a Middle Eastern bakery, or her local Waitrose. But, I encourage you to be brave and make them.

These were truly amazing. Juicy, sticky, nutty, syrupy, crunchy, messy. As we lifted each piece from the pan and transferred to our mouths, we did that thing where you have to crane your chin away from your body to avoid the warm nutty sugar syrup from dripping onto us. Ideally, you should wait for the Baklawa to cool down before shoving into your mouth. But, things aren’t always ideal, are they?

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So, this is Baklawa. You may know it as Baklava, with a V. Various countries and cultures make these and they vary in shape, flavour and filling. We made scrumptious diamonds filled with pistachio and walnut.
I have never met anyone who doesn’t love these. I bought 700 pieces to serve at my brother’s wedding and there were hardly any left by the end of the night. I know that my own father-in-law was responsible for a not insignificant number of those.

Ingredients:– Filo pastry sheets
We used a whole packet of pre-made pastry.
-400g of pistachio and walnuts
We used ready shelled ones, which we half chopped in an electric gadget and half smashed in a mortar
-A whole pack of butter
We melted it all over a hob
-2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

Syrup Ingredients:-1 cup water
-1 cup white sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
If you want a more fragrant version, use flower water instead
-1/2 cup of honey

Preheat the oven to 175C. Melt the butter. Smash the nuts and mix with the cinnamon. Layer the filo sheets with the melted butter, one sheet at a time, getting all the way to the edges. We did this for 12 sheets to give a nice solid base, then we introduced a nut-mixture layer, a few more sheets of filo, spreading the butter after each layer, and then another nut layer. In all we did about 3 nuts layers, then topped with 3 or 4 buttery filo sheets, then a nice top layer of butter. Then cut the whole thing into diamonds, this can be a bit tricky, so use 2 hands for keeping it all in place and use two hands for cutting. Use a sharp knife. Then put in the oven for 50 minutes. While this cooks up to a golden, crispy brown, prepare the syrup by putting all the ingredients in a pan on the hop. Once the baklawa is cooked, take out of the oven and while still hot pour over the syrup. Be careful, it may splash and steam.

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Let cool (if you can resist) and then eat. This is not as sweet as some baklawa’s so its perfect.

But it is sweet enough to be best eaten with a nice strong coffee.

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After dinner, or in the afternoon when you just need that lovely kick of sugar and coffee is the best time to enjoy. These make the perfect dinner party guest gift. Try them out!

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