Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Many different nations lay claim to the baklava, it is a well known pastry that has evolved through-out the Central Asian Countries. It is thought to have begun with the nomadic tribes of turkey, it has been claimed by the Greek, the Armenians introduced it to the spice route and the middle eastern nations embraced it and made it their own. There are many variations on this glorious sweet pastry but the heart of it is layers of thin delicate filo or phylo pastry and butter with a filling of either almonds, walnuts or pistachios or a combination ( I would also consider using pecans or macadamias ) baked and then soaked in a sugar syrup. Depending on the ethnic group preparing the baklava there is also a variation of spices, honey or the addition of rose water or orange blossom water. Here is my version and it is absolutely gorgeous, there is so little effort in making this sweet for such a big reward.
125 grams each almonds and walnuts
50 grams sugar
1 tspn cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamon
100 grams butter, melted
250 grams filo pastry
orange zest, jullienne
150 grams sugar
75 grams honey
1 cinnamon stick
1 tspn orange blossom water or rose water
Grease a square cake tin with butter. In a food processor pulse nuts with sugar and spices so that you have a mixture of course and fine nuts. Cut the filo pastry to the size of your tin. Cover with a damp tea towel so that the filo pastry does not dry out. Layer one third of your pastry in the tin brushing each layer with butter as you go. Cover pastry with half of the nut filling and repeat another layer of pastry, nuts and the final layer of pastry. Refrigerate until firm and cut into portion size pieces. Pre-heat the oven to 175c and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
For the syrup: using a peeler peel thin strips of orange skin and thin slice finely for jullienne. Bring the sugar, honey, cinnamon, orange peel and water to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in blossom or rose water. Pour hot syrup over the hot pastry and allow to soak in (over night if you can possibly wait that long)