Baklava is a rich sweet pastry, made with layers of thin sheets of pastry, filled with nuts and soaked in syrup. It has been claimed by ethnic regions , some say it as Greek and some as Turkish....
Wherever this sweet originated, this is just one amazing sweet. Everytime when we buy a big box of baklavas, it disappears within a day. Few times I failed in trying this baklava, however it's not a complete failure, I have to say a bit dry. Still you can claim that as a type of baklava. To me this one was perfect, completely soaked, perfectly cooked layers and the right amount of nuts. If you are planning to make this sweet for your friends and family or any occasion , just make it a day ahead which will give enough time to soak in the syrup. I made this last week , nothing has left now, still I'm dreaming about this delicious pastry.
So let's go to the recipe for my sweet little sweet.
Here is the link from which I followed the recipe with few variations.
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hr 15 minutes
Makes 15 squares
Phyllo pastry- 500 g( 20 sheets)
Walnuts- 100 g
Almonds- 100 g
Pista- 100 g
Cinnamon powder- 1/2 tsp
Brown sugar- 1 tbsp
Butter- 250 g
For the syrup:
Honey- 100 g
Brown sugar- 200 g
Lemon juice- 2 tsp
Cinnamon stick- 1/2 inch stick
Orange blossom water or rose water- 1 tsp
In a food processor , pulse the nuts along with cinnamon and sugar until looks coarse.
Next prepare the layers of pastry. Open the pastry cover , place all the pastries in a wide flat surface, cover it with a damp cloth to avoid drying.
Take a 20 cm square tin. Grease with butter and line with baking parchment paper. Melt the butter completely until looks runny.
Take a sheet of pastry and lay it in the tin, brush with butter all over the pastry. If the pastry sheet is hanging out of the tin, fold it over in the tin and brush with butter. Repeat the same process until you get 8 layers of pastry. Now spread the nut mixture on top of the pastry and press it with a back of the spoon.
Now again start layering the pastry in the same method as mentioned and finish with 4 layers of pastry. Now again spread it with nuts and press with the back of the spoon. Now again start layering the pastry and finish with the remaining 8 layers of pastry.
Remember that when you are using a 20 cm square tin, you'll be able to fold each pastry into two layers and for each and every layer you have to brush the pastry sheet with butter.
Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius. Make square shapes in the pastry using a sharp knife. Make just insertions do not cut it out completely. Bake it in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, you can see that the pastry will be light brown in colour, at this stage cover the tin tightly with aluminium foil. Reduce the oven temperature to 160 degree Celsius and bake it for further 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes remove the foil, increase the temperature to 180 again and bake it for further 20 minutes until the top layer of pastry looks brown in colour. At this stage take it out, pour the syrup all over the pastry little by little. If the syrup looks floating on top, allow it absorb for few minutes and then pour the syrup again. Now cut the squares and completely and let them sit in the tin and soak in syrup for minimum 5 to 6 hours. You can leave it in the tin until it gets finished or place them in a separate serving plate.
To make the syrup:
Add the honey, sugar, cinnamon stick and lemon juice along with 150 ml of water. Bring it boil in medium heat. Stir continually until the sugar gets completely dissolved. Boil for 5 minutes until it looks syrupy. Finally add the rose water to the syrup and take it off from heat.
You can prepare the syrup when the baklavas are baking in the oven.
This recipe goes to 17th Mediterranean Cooking event by Tobias Cooks, also sending this to best recipe of the month by Nancy.