Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Baking for Beginners: Baklava

I didn't discover the wonder of baklava until recently. Now I might be slightly addicted to the sugary stuff. But I've been spoilt. My first baklava experience was at a posh stall in Borough Market and I tried every single kind. That was a very expensive sugar rush. I've never braved the dry-looking supermarket stuff. As I'm not made of millions and can't visit Borough Market all the time, there was only one thing for it: I was going to have to make my own. I used this recipe as a starting point, and then played about with it adding orange blossom.

Baklava is surprisingly easy to make, but if you're hoping for a healthy treat, this isn't it. It's basically butter with some more butter, with some syrup and then some more butter on top. Don't feel that you need to use all of your butter or syrup, you want moist and sweet not overly soggy.

The good thing is that this recipe will give you about 20 pieces, so you'll have lots to share. And while I wouldn't usually suggest sharing treats, you'll give yourself a heart attack if you eat the whole tray yourself.

You'll need:
  • 1 pack of filo pastry
  • 180 g butter, melted
  • 250 g chopped nuts
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 250 ml water
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 150 ml honey (I used orange blossom)
  • dash of orange blossom water
Make it!
  • Preheat your oven to gas mark 4/180 degrees C and grease a small rectangular baking tray.
  • Unroll your pastry and cut to fit your tray (the pastry will probably cut in half to fit).
  • Layer two sheets of pastry in the bottom of the dish, then brush with butter. You only need a light coating. Continue buttering and layering until you've got about eight sheets layered up.
  • Mix your nuts with the cinnamon, and sprinkle around 3 tablespoons of the mixture onto your pastry.
  • Add another two layers of pastry, butter and then more nuts. Repeat again so you've got another six layers of buttery, nutty tastiness.
  • Brush the top layer with butter and then slice into squares. Pop in the oven for about 40 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Google Research tells me that you either want to put cold syrup on hot baklava, or hot syrup on cold baklava to stop it going soggy. That latter is easier as once your honey has gone cold it'll set, so wait until your baklava has cooled before making the syrup.
  • Mix the water and sugar in a pan on a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the honey and orange water. Then simmer for about 20 minutes until gooey. Once you're done, and the baklava is completely cooled spoon over the top and allow to set.
  • When it's cool, cut into squares and serve with a side of sugar coma.

10 comments:

  1. Oh my GOD I love baklava! You clever girl making it from scratch. *opens mouth hopefully in manner of hungry baby bird*

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  2. Oh wow, this looks amazing. Where did you get your orange blossom water from?

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  3. Thank you ladies. I promise to make you some.

    Sara, it was in Sainsbury's. Either near the honey, or in the baking aisle. Don't remember, but it's pretty easy to find. Less than £2 a bottle too.

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  4. This looks so delicious! Can't wait to try it out ... however you pronounce Baklava!

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  5. This sounds absolutely INCREDIBLE.

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  6. I love making baklava! You can also cut the pieces before you cook it which makes it a little easier.

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  7. Beginners may need courage for Baklava, it is a bit tricky to obtain right softness of the pastry. But this one looks delicious. You can also try it with pistachios.

    BTW, your blog is cool, congratulations!

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  8. Thanks, Gastroveggie! I think this is one of those things that gets easier after you've made it a few times, but the recipe is simple enough. You're right about the pistachios, but I couldn't find any!

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