A Turkish sweet made with buttered pastry layered with chopped nuts and soaked in a spiced honey syrup
The first time I had this middle-eastern treat was in the airport in Greece on my way back home to Britain. For two weeks I’d somehow missed out on trying it and nearly kicked myself afterwards. The sweet and crunchy morsels of deliciousness were oozing with rich honey and marzipan-like filling. Just my kind of thing.
A little goes a long way though and after two pieces I packed it up and took the rest home. Even so, they didn’t last more than a couple of days!
The pastry practically floated in a dish of sweet honey syrup
I had the dish again when a Cypriot friend offered to make her family’s recipe. The pastry practically floated in a dish of sweet syrup and instead of the mini-rolled sweets I’d had in Greece she made a full dish and then cut it into diamonds.
I think making it in a full dish might be easier to prepare and to serve up so have stuck to this design myself.
Honey & Almond Baklava Recipe
Makes 16-18 large diamonds – each are perfect for a single serving
The ingredients for this sticky pastry are fairly simple and include almonds, cinnamon, cloves, filo pastry, and sugar among others. It’s a very easy to make dish but if I were you I’d make it the day before you serve it since that gives the syrup more of a chance to soak into the dish.
1-1/2 cups Honey
1-1/2 cups White Sugar
2 Tbsp Lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground Cinnamon
5 whole Cloves
2 cups chopped Almonds
2 cups chopped mixed nuts of your choice – peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/4 cup of Sugar
1 cup of melted butter
Filo dough – you will need 24 sheets the size of your dish. For me, this was a single package that was 250g (half a pound)
1/2 cup of melted butter
Step 1: Make the Syrup
Place all of the syrup ingredients into a saucepan on low to med-low heat. Stir until it’s dissolved and then bring the heat up to medium and allow it to simmer for five minutes. Next, take it off the heat, remove the cloves, and allow to cool. I used my own raw honey for this part and highly recommend you source local honey too – the flavour will knock your socks off!
Step 2: Make the Filling
Place all of the filling ingredients into a bowl and stir well. Yes, that’s a lot of butter! If you haven’t purchased pre-chopped nuts you can chop them up by hand or in a food processor. They should be roughly chopped though rather than finely ground.
Step 3: Layer the pastry
First pre-heat your oven to 350F / 180F / 160C fan assisted oven.
Next, melt about half a cup of butter and then grease your dish. The one I used is 12×9″. Now you get layering. Place a single sheet of pastry in the dish and then lightly brush it with melted butter. Repeat this process until you have eight sheets of buttered filo in the dish.
On top of this pasty, spoon out half of your nut filling and spread it evenly.
Next, eight more layers of buttered filo pasty go on top then the other half of the filling.
Lastly, layer eight more layers of filo on top. In cross-section you five different layers of alternating pastry and nuts.
Step 4: Bake and Soak
Score the top of the pastry in a diamond design – three horizontal lines lengthwise and then diagonal lines over these. You can cut the lines after you bake but it can make the top of the pastry flake off (like mine!). Not a big deal but probably advise doing it before if you want it to be professional looking.
Sprinkle the top of the dish with cold water and then place it in the oven. The water helps to keep the top layer of filo from puffing up. Bake for 20 minutes and then reduce the heat to 300F/150C/140c for fan assisted ovens. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Step 5: Soak with the Honey Syrup
Just after you take the dish out of the oven, cut through your scored lines all the way to the bottom of the dish. Next spoon the cooled syrup all over the pastry while it’s still hot, making sure it slips down every cut you made.
Cover lightly and let the syrup creep into the pastry over the space of 6-24 hours. The longer the better. Left at room temperature the dessert will last a full week if you can keep your hands off of it! Enjoy ~