12 Jan Baklava
Greek cuisine is one of my favourites. Whenever we eat at a Greek restaurant it’s a given that Baklava will be the ending to my meal. I just love the crisp layers of pastry, crunchy nuts and sweet, honey syrup all rounded off with a touch of cinnamon – heaven!
Baklava is very simple to make. However it does take a bit of time – that’s just because each phyllo sheet needs to be buttered individually. But when you sink your teeth into a golden diamond of freshly made Baklava you’ll be glad you went to the trouble to make your own.
Since Baklava is rather sweet, just a small serving goes a long way. This recipe can easily feed 20 people, and as it should be made a day advance it’s perfect for when you’re entertaining a large crowd.
450g frozen phyllo pastry
1 cup Mac’s Eucalyptus Honey (available at Faithful to Nature)
¾ cup water
½ cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 strip lemon peel
450g nuts (I used walnuts, blanched almonds and pistachios)
- Thaw the phyllo pastry in the fridge overnight.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the honey, water, sugar, lemon juice and lemon peel. Heat on a medium heat and stir frequently until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and boil for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 160°C. Place the nuts and cinnamon into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped (but not ground and powdery).
- Melt the butter and grease a large rectangular dish, about 25 x 35 cm. Trim the phyllo sheets with a sharp knife or scissors so that the sheets fit your dish exactly. Keep the phyllo pastry sheets covered with a damp, clean tea towel at all times so that the sheets don’t dry out.
- Place 8 sheets of phyllo pastry into the dish, brushing each one with melted butter. Now spread enough of the nut mixture to cover the phyllo pastry, about 1 cup.
- Top with 4 more sheets, brushing each one with melted butter. Spread another layer of nut mixture on top. Repeat this, until all the nut mixture has been used up. Top with another 8 sheets of phyllo pastry, and butter the top layer generously.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the baklava into strips lengthways, about 4cm wide. Then cut diagonally to form diamond shapes. Sprinkle the top layer with a little cold water just before baking to prevent that top layer from curling.
- Bake the baklava for 1 hour, covering with foil about halfway through.
- Remove from the oven and immediately pour the cold syrup evenly over the baklava.
- For best results, leave the baklava overnight, uncovered.