One thing that I always get asked when I tell people I’m Turkish is ‘do you know how to make baklava?’ The answer is yes I do, but not in the traditional way where I sit for hours on end rolling out dough, instead I pop to my local shop and make it with filo pastry. Baklava is a traditional Turkish dessert, which is rich with a nutty, citrusy and sweet flavours. It is perfect served with vanilla ice cream, or with freshly brewed Turkish tea.
30 Sheets of Philo Pastry (there’s a lot of layering).
380g of Walnuts, chopped finely- if you have a food processor it might be easier to pop them in there.
260g of unsalted butter, melted.
1tsp of Cinnamon.
200g of sugar.
255g of Honey.
115ml of Water.
A handful of pistachio, finely chopped- for the garnish (optional).
Trim the Philo Pastry so that it fits with your baking tray (I like to use a medium sized Pyrex, which is 13x9cm).
Butter the bottom and sides of the baking tray.
In a saucepan combine the sugar, the honey, the cinnamon, the lemon and the water. Bring these to a boil on a med/high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat and allow to boil for a further 5 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat and allow for it to cool as you prepare the rest of the baklava.
Place ten sheets of Philo into the baking tray, butter each with the unsalted butter. Then add in a layer of walnuts. You can just sprinkle these onto the tenth layer. Repeat this Twice. With the final ten sheets, place these on top and butter- no sprinkling of nuts is necessary.
Using a sharp knife, divide the pastry into 4, by cutting horizontally. Then cut diagonally to form diamond shapes.
Bake this at gas mark 3 for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the top layer becomes a golden brown. Do keep an eye on the baklava, Philo pastry has a tendency to burn very quickly.
Remove from the oven, do not let the pastry cool. Drizzle the syrup on the baklava immediately. The heat from the pastry will allow the syrup to reach all layers.
Then add on a pinch of the chopped pistachio, onto each diamond segment.
Allow baklava to cool completely before digging in.
(Image: Sumaiya Patel)