Baklava is a very rich sweet pastry made out of layers nuts and filo pastry sweetened with sugar syrup and/or honey. Its main characteristic is crunchy, nutty and very sweet (one of the sweetest desserts I tried). The first time I had this was when one of our Jordanian office colleague brought it back to New Zealand as a returning back present from his home country, he had brought in several types so we had tried different variations and probably the most authentic as we can get. At first it was a shock because it’s really sweet but in small quantities it is really good especially with coffee.
Like many old popular food items the history of this dish is not well known but there are a lot of ethnic groups are claiming its invention from the Greeks to the Arabs but the most strongest evidence says that it was created in the imperial kitchens of the Topkapi Palace and was based on a Central Asian Turkic tradition of layered breads. During those days this dish is considered as a food for the wealthy due to the exotic ingredients but today it can be found in Middle Eastern and well as Greek specialty shops.
Today it is even made easier cooking it at home as filo dough is widely available on supermarkets, just imagine making this your own it will be a real hard work making the dough thin and hydrated at all times.
375g filo / phyllo pastry
3 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 cup melted butter
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Using a food processor finely chop together walnuts, almonds and pistachios.
- Remove from food processor then place in a bowl. Add powdered sugar and cinnamon into the bowl and mix to distribute evenly.
- Prepare a damp cloth, you will use this to cover your unused filo pastry to keep them from drying out.
- Grease a 9 x 5 inch deep dish or you can line it with wax paper. Place a sheet of filo in the pan then brush top with butter. Place another layer then brush again top with butter, repeat the steps until you have 12 layers.
- Pour half of the nut mixture on top then place a sheet filo to cover top, brush it again with butter and repeat steps until you have 10 layers.
- Pour remaining half of the nut mixture on top then place a sheet filo to cover top, brush it again with butter and repeat steps until you have 12 layers. Before bruising the final layer with butter press the bottom layers firmly.
- Trim excess dough using a knife then place baking dish in the refrigerator for an hour to set. Using a sharp knife cut into diamond shapes all the way to the bottom.
- Bake in a 180C preheated oven for 50 minutes or until baklava is golden and crispy.
- While baking prepare your sugar syrup by boiling together water, sugar, honey and vanilla. Once boiling simmer for 30 minutes in low heat uncovered.
- Remove baklava from the oven then immediately pour sugar syrup on top. Let it cool for at least hours to let the whole thing set.