Baklava

I love baklava – I have since my first bite which was long before my trip to either Greece or Turkey this year. Fortunately for me baklava in both Greece and Turkey is the best in the world and I managed to eat a lot of it! Greek and Turkish baklava is quite different and I must admit I do prefer the Turkish variety – I find it more moist! Unfortunately I rarely get enough baklava and although expensive (due to the nuts) and a bit time consuming, its relatively simple to make at home. And then you can share it with your colleagues, or eat it all yourself. I won’t judge!

Baklava

  • 18 sheets ready-made filo pastry (unwrap and keep under a damp tea-towel until you are ready to use)
  • 225g/8oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 225g/8oz mixed pistachios and walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom

For the syrup

  • 350g/12oz granulated sugar
  • 300ml/10 fl oz water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp orange blossom water
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 17cm x 28cm (11in x 7in) baking tray with butter.
  2. Melt the remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat.
  3. Lay 10 sheets of filo pastry, one at a time, into the tray, brushing each sheet with butter before adding the next.
  4. In a clean bowl, mix together the nuts, sugar, juice and cardamom and spread the mixture over the pastry in the tray.
  5. Layer the remaining sheets on top of the nut mixture, brushing each sheet with butter, as before.
  6. Using a sharp knife, cut a criss-cross pattern into the top layers of the pastry.
  7. Place baklava in the preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes, then decrease the oven temperature to 300F and cook for an additional half hour to 40 minutes, or until the pastry is slightly puffed and golden on top. Do not allow the top to burn.
  8. For the syrup, heat the sugar, water, lemon juice and orange blossom water in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the sugar has melted and a syrup is formed. (This will take about 20 minutes or so.)
  9. Pour the syrup over hot baklava and place back in the oven (turn the oven off) for 3-5 minutes to help absorb. Remove from over and leave to cool. Cut into small diamond-shaped pieces and serve.
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