Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry popular in the Mediterranean and Middle East. Many countries claim Baklava as their own hence the variations in ingredients and cooking style. It was and still is a popular dessert around religious holidays such as Christmas and Ramadan. Baklava is used in weddings, family get-togethers, and various other feasts and celebrations. Historically it was baked only on special occasions, usually by the rich who could afford such a luxury. In Turkey, to this day, one can hear a common expression: “I am not rich enough to eat Baklava every day”. I am doing my own version of Baklava after reading lots of recipes they all seemed so different, so I just did my own thing. I think it turned out pretty good. I used Pistachio Nuts as this is what I am familiar with from eating Turkish Baklava.
For the Baklava-
12 Sheets of Filo Pastry
200-250g Unsalted Butter
300g Pistachio Nuts
2 tbsp Sugar ( I used brown sugar)
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
For the Syrup-
3 cups Water
2 cups Sugar
Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
Begin by making the syrup which you’ll pour over the hot baklava later on. Combine the water, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan, bring the mixture to a boil and let it simmer slowly uncovered while you prepare the rest of the baklava.
Melt the butter
Mix the chopped/ground nuts with the sugar and cinnamon
Brush the bottom of your pan with butter
Lay your filo sheets on a damp tea towel so they do not dry out, take your first sheet and set in place, working quickly brush the entire piece with butter add another sheet and brush with butter
Sprinkle on some of the nut mixture – I am using a 2 sheet system- 2 layers of filo then nuts
Continue until you have 2 sheets left this being the top sheets and brush this with butter
(Make sure you have some nuts left for sprinkling on top after it is cooked)
Using a sharp knife or a pastry cutter, gently cut the baklava do not cut right down to the bottom of the pan or the baklava may go soggy on the bottom when you add the syrup
Place the pan in a preheated 395° F/200° C oven
Once the baklava is in the oven, remove the syrup from the heat and leave it to cool down
Bake the baklava for about 30-45 minutes, or until the layers puff up high and the top layers are golden and crispy
While it’s still piping hot, immediately pour the cold syrup evenly over the baklava. Let it bubble up then settle.
Generously sprinkle more ground pistachios over the top.
Leave your baklava to cool down to room temperature before serving.