No Easter bunnies or eggs for Easter on the blog this year (for last year's chocolate brownie recipe click here), but an equally delicious treat - baklava. It is made in many Middle Eastern countries for celebrations, including Easter, so it’s still very appropriate and makes a great alternative to chocolate. Sadly, it’s still as naughty though, packed with sugar and butter and tons of crunchy nuts.
A bit of a confession now, when I was trying it out I made three for a recent demo - and guess who ate most of them? Once you start it’s impossible not to keep going back for one more little mouthful. That is unless you are strong enough to put any leftovers into the freezer and clearly I'm not.
So get buttering that filo and chopping those nuts and make sure you have plenty of friends coming to visit. It’s really easy and keeps beautifully (if I’m not around).
Ingredients - serves 6-8 as a dessert and 24+ as petit four
18 sheets filo pastry
200g roughly chopped walnuts and pistachio
1 tbsp caster sugar
For the syrup:
300g caster sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp rose water or orange blossom (add slowly and check, strengths vary)
Baking tin 17cm x 28cm approx
Heat the oven to 180°
Generously grease the baking tin.
Melt the rest of the butter.
Cut the filo sheets to fit the tin, keeping them covered with cling film or a damp tea towel when not being used.
Place one sheet of filo in the tin and brush liberally with melted butter. Repeat with 9 more sheets.
Mix the chopped nuts with 1 tbsp caster sugar and sprinkle this on top of the buttered filo stack.
Continue layering the next 8 sheets of filo, buttering each one as you go. Butter the top.
Cut parallel lines through the top layers with a sharp knife and a ruler. Then diagonal lines, to make diamond shapes. Don't cut right through at this stage.
Bake for 20 minutes, before turning down to 160°c for another 30- 40 minutes, check the filo isn’t getting too brown.
Meanwhile, for the syrup, mix the caster sugar with the water and 2 tbsp lemon juice and heat until the sugar has melted.
Cook for another 10 minutes until the syrup has thickened slightly. Take off the heat and cool a little before adding the rose water or orange blossom (add slowly, to check for strength).
Pour the syrup over, put back in the oven for 5 minutes longer and when totally cool cut right through. A ruler helps with this. Leave overnight.
To serve as a dessert, add some vanilla ice cream. As a sweet canapé, just cut out little pieces and maybe sprinkle some dried rose petals around.