This is one of my all time favourite companions to a cup of Fair Trade espresso… a slice of sweet and nutty Baklava…
Baklava is popular across the Middle East, so there are many versions of it, but this one is a very simple and straightforward recipe that any first-timer (like myself) can make.
The first time I had these, was with my nuttiest bat-and-gorilla-lover friend Isa (don’t ask) whilst visiting her in Finland a few summers ago. She had spent time in Israel and had learned how to make these as well as an amazing poppy seed no-flour chocolate cake which I am tempted to recreate soon. The holiday is well engraved in our memories since we almost fell out after a very serious drunken debate about whether or not our favourite all-time bad U2 should retire (this remains a sore point which we are still careful to avoid every time we meet…) and by mushroom picking in an incredible forest, sailing around the islands and some pretty embarrassing Abba matching outfits made worse by a terrible singing routine…
Anyway to the recipe. Quantities are for around 20 small(ish) diamonds.
– 125 gr melted butter
– 250 gr of Fair Trade Walnuts
– 1/2 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
– 1 packer of filo pastry ( paper thin pastry)
– 100 gr Fair Trade sugar (white)
– 200 ml water
– 4 tablespoons of honey
– Fair trade lemon peel
1) Pre- heat your oven to 160C
2) It’s a good idea to make the syrup first. Simmer the sugar, water, honey and lemon peel in a pan for around 20 minutes.
3) Take off the heat, remove the lemon peel and leave to cool.
4) Grind your walnuts.
5) Add the cinnamon, toss and set to one side.
6) Carefully unroll the filo pastry and cut to the size of your pan (it has to be deep)
7) Cover the filo with a wet tea towel while you work.
8) Melt the butter.
9) Place 2 sheets of filo and then paint with melted butter.
10) Sprinkle some nuts. Cover with with 2 more sheets of filo, cover with butter and repeat 6-8 times.
11) Using a sharp knife cut out diamond shapes (all the way to the bottoms.
12) Bake for around 30 minutes.
13) Remove from the oven and immediately pour the syrup all over, especially along the cuts so that it soaks through.
14) Leave them to absorb the syrup for a few hours, but best overnight. Leave uncovered so that it doesn’t go soggy.
And here are a few photos of Isa and I all those years ago…