Baklava - Baklavas
Baklava is probably the most famous of all Greek desserts
and deservedly so. It has been around since ancient times. Little diamonds of crisp fillo pastry, layered with a filling of walnuts and drenched in an aromatic honey syrup. Just the thought of it has my taste buds remembering the exquisite flavour.
I actually find I make this dessert more often when I live out of Greece than when I am living in Greece. In the country, there are so many excellent zacharoplasteions
(sweet shops), tempting me with baklava that I often
give in and buy them,
however when out of Greece,
this is the best baklava recipe.
I will make it for friends and family and always know it will have everyone talking about this delicious dessert. It is very easy to make and you will certainly impress everyone with the wonderful result.
400g walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
150-200g butter, melted
@18 sheets fillo pastry
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4-5 tablespoons honey
Select a large oblong roasting tray, approx 35 x 25 cm.
If the fillo pastry is frozen, you will need to thaw it, but keep a clean dry cloth over it as you work to keep it from drying out.Grease the bottom and sides of baking tray.
Mix the walnuts, cinnamon and sugar in a bowl.
Taking one sheet of fillo at a time, brush the melted butter very thinly all over the top of the pastry.
Lay in the baking tray, if it is too wide or long, hang it over the sides for now.
Repeat with the fillo until there are five sheets of pastry in the tray.
Spread half the walnut filling evenly over the pastry.
Add three more sheets of filo pastry, brushing each layer with melted butter before adding to the tray.
Spread the remainder of the walnut mixture over the pastry.
If there is any excess pastry up the sides of the tray or hanging over the tray, fold them in over the walnut filling.
If the pastry is a lot larger than the tray, cut the sheets of pastry down to just a tiny bit wider and longer than the tray (to allow for shrinkage when cooking).
Finish by adding about 8 or 10 more sheets of fillo on top, buttering each sheet every time. If the pastry sheets are a bit too big, just fold them back over themselves each time.
With a sharp knife, carefully cut small diamond or square shapes, only cutting through the top few layers. This will make it much easier to slice once cooked.
Take a cup of cold water and using your fingers, sprinkle a little water over the top of the baklava. This will help prevent the cut pastry from curling up whilst cooking.
Place the baking tray in a preheated oven, 180 C, for 30 to 45 minutes, until golden. I would suggest that you start checking on it after 25 minutes as I do find the time can vary greatly in different ovens.
In the meanwhile, boil all the syrup ingredients except the honey in a saucepan for about 5 minutes.
Add the honey and simmer for another 5 minutes until thickened slightly.
Remove the cinnamon sticks.
When the baklava is ready, remove from the oven and whilst still hot, pour the syrup all over the top of the pastry whilst still in the baking tray.
Cut the slices through to the bottom.
Leave to cool completely in the tray, soaking in the aromatic syrup.
Remove the slices one at a time from the tray.
Baklava will keep for 2-3 days, at room temperature.
An alternative filling could include a mixture of walnuts and pistachios.
Kali Orexi - Bon Appetit
If your local shops don't stock filo dough pastry, you can now buy all your Greek pastry here!
Have a look at these beautiful Dessert Bowls and Plates, ideal for serving all these Greek desserts!
If you don't have time to make this recipe, you can Buy Baklava and other Greek desserts online.
Return from Baklava for more delicious Greek Desserts