Here I share my Mum’s recipe for crunchy, nutty and flaky baklava that is a signature dessert for Greeks all over the world.
Let me know if you try this. If you can’t eat nuts, you might like to try my mother’s invention of Stafidhopitta made with sultanas and orange liquor.
It’s easy to make, far easier in fact than it looks so if you fancy it, don’t be put off that it looks a little high maintenance!
Baklava is a popular, sweet, nut-filled pastry whose origins are from Greece and Turkey, although they can also be found in the bakeries of Northern Africa and the Middle East. Follow this recipe to make your own!
250g walnuts, coarsely chopped.
250g blanched almonds, coarsely chopped.
75g pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped.
Finely grated rind of a lemon.
2 tsp cinnamon
4-5 cloves, ground
75g unsalted butter
125ml vegetable oil
375g packet fresh filo pastry
For the syrup:
600 ml water
350g caster sugar
75g clear honey
2 strips of lemon rind
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 stick cinnamon
4-5 whole cloves
Preheat the oven to 180 c, gas mark 4. Mix the nuts and lemon rind with the cinnamon and cloves in a small bowl. Melt the butter with the oil in a saucepan over a low heat, use a pastry brush and lightly grease the base of a shallow 20cmx 30cm deep baking tray. Line the baking tin with 1 sheet of pastry, folding over any excess pastry. Brush this lightly with the melted butter and oil.
Repeat until you have used half of the pastry sheets, brushing each one lightly with butter and oil.
Spread half the nut filling over the pastry and cover with three layers of the filo pastry, brushing butter and oil on each layer. Sprinkle the remaining filling over the pastry.
Add the last sheets of filo pastry on top again brushing butter and oil over each sheet.
Fold any excess pastry underneath to keep the top tidy and finally brush the top of the pastry liberally with butter/oil, making sure that you cover the whole surface.
Dip a sharp knife into boiling water and score through the first 4 sheets making squares or diamond shaped portions. Sprinkle the top sheet of pastry with a little water to prevent it curling upwards. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown.
Take the baklava out of the oven and let it cool before adding the syrup.
Meanwhile, make the syrup.
Place the water in a small saucepan with the sugar, honey, lemon rind, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to the boil and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened slightly.
Take the syrup off the heat and let it cool slightly. Discard the lemon rind and spices and pour the hot syrup over the cooled pastry. Leave to soak for a few hours or overnight before cutting into portions.
Serve decorated with chopped pistachio nuts.
Baklava keeps well in the refrigerator for up to one week.
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