Google+ Spices in the Cookie Jar: Baklava - a Turkish delight!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Baklava - a Turkish delight!

Baklava is a crunchy, flaky delicious sweet made of filo pastry filled with ground nuts and sweetened by sugar syrup or honey. I have had this sweet many times when growing up in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. But never tried making it at home until recently when I had this sweet again in Melbourne after a long time. To be honest it was one of the best Baklava i have had. It had the right texture, crunch and was sweetened just right, not the overpowering sweetness you find in most of the shop bought ones. So I decided to try making it at home and  I am glad I did, as it turned out perfect :)   


For filling:
  • Unsalted butter - 1/2 a pack (use more if required)
  • 1 pack filo pastry (refrigerated not frozen)
  • Walnuts - 150 g (about 1/2 cup) 
  • Pistachio - 150 g (about 1/2 cup)
  • Cinnamon pdr - 1/2 tsp
  • Cardamom pdr - 1/2 tsp 
  • Caster sugar - 2 tbsp
  • Rose water - 1 tsp                           
For syrup:
  • Sugar - 1/2 cup 
  • Water - 1/4 cup water
  • Rose water - 1/2 tsp
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Cloves - 5

To make syrup, combine the sugar, rosewater, cinnamon, cloves and water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 3 minutes, then set aside to cool.

In a wide bottom pan dry roast the pistachio & walnut for about 5 - 10 mins on low flame.
Keep tossing every few seconds so the nuts don't get burnt.
Remove from heat and let it cool.
Coarsely grind them in a food processor separately or better yet use a mortar and pestle. 
Make sure the mixture is not too chunky and not overly powdered. 
Mix the sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, rose water into this. 
Keep aside and start layering the filo pastry one at a time in a greased baking dish.
Cover the remaining pastry with a damp cloth.
Brush each pastry sheet with butter or every other sheet if you do not want to use a lot of butter.
When halfway through the pastry sheet add the filling and spread it across evenly. 
Layer the rest of the pastry as before and freeze for 10 mins (this makes cutting the filo easier)
Cut into desired shapes and pour the remaining butter on top.
Cover the tray with foil or baking paper to stop over browning.  
Preheat the oven to 175 C - fan forced and bake for 35 mins or until golden.
Pour syrup over hot baklava in tray, and let it stand for 2 hours or until the syrup is absorbed and baklava cools.

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