Baklava

Mike D’Angelo of Carlton, Victoria asks:

Kurma, do you have a good baklava recipe you could reveal?

My answer:

Yes! Here it is:

baklava:

Turkish Nut Pastries in Syrup (Baklava)

Baklava is probably one of the best known of all Middle Eastern sweets. In this delightful version of Turkish origin, sheets of buttered wafer-thin filo pastry are layered with nuts and baked; then they’re soaked in a lemon and orange-blossom flavoured sugar and honey syrup.

Preparation & cooking time: about 1 hour 5 minutes
Baklava soaking time: overnight, or at least 2 hours
Makes: about 18 large pieces

Pastries
450g (1 pound) filo pastry (about 30 sheets)
250g (9 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
250g (9 ounces) finely chopped walnuts (or almonds, pistachios, or a combination)
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
¼ cup sugar

Syrup
1¼ cups sugar
1 cups water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup honey
1 tablespoon orange-blossom water (available at Middle Eastern grocers)

Butter a 28cm x 18cm (11-inch x 7-inch) tin. If necessary, cut the pastry the size of the tin.

Place one sheet of pastry on the bottom of the tin and butter it with a pastry brush. Repeat for half the pastry (about 15 sheets).

Combine the nuts, cinnamon, and sugar.

Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top layer of buttered filo pastry. Continue layering the remaining pastry on top of the nut mixture, again brushing each layer of pastry with melted butter. After the final layer of pastry is placed on top, brush it with butter.

Carefully cut the tray of pastry into diagonal diamond shapes with a sharp knife, cutting directly to the base.

Bake in a moderate oven 180°C/355°F for about 45 minutes or until the top is crisp and golden.

Combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a pan, stir over low heat to dissolve the sugar, and then boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the honey, stir to dissolve, and add the orange-blossom water.

Pour the hot syrup over the cooked baklava. Let set for at least 2 hours, or for best results leave overnight for the syrup to be fully absorbed.
Posted by Kurma on 24/2/06; 1:24:41 PM

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