Delicious Baklava with vanilla syrup
Considering that over the last few months I have lived a sheltered life and barely stopped to notice the weather let alone follow current affairs or even family affairs for that matter, it was quite an achievement to go out for a family barbecue yesterday. But even more so because I made not just one sweet to take – but two! On top of that I even managed to make a video of the them!!!
Baklava with vanilla syrup
Well, there are no more daily trips to the hospital and no more sick kids to nurture through the day and night so even though I am seriously sleep deprived (my gorgeous bundle wakes me every hour and a half all night, most nights) I feel excited to have made a video. The first for a while and it was the video I had intended to make the day I went to hospital for some monitoring of the baby and ended up having an emergency caesarean and was out of action for over a month.
Baklava is quite a well known Mediterranean sweet and can be found in Turkish, Lebanese and Greek restaurants but it has also become more mainstream in the last few years and available in many places. While there are many ways to flavour Baklava with the use of vanilla, rose water and orange blossom water, the syrup may also be made with honey which adds a very distinct flavour also. At home my mum made Baklava with vanilla and I too use vanilla whenever I make this dish, but then I absolutely love the flavour and aroma of vanilla so I cannot go past it for a flavouring in deserts or sweets. I personally find rose water too strong in many versions of Baklava so I stick with the vanilla. If you were to use rose or orange blossom water be sure to add a little to the syrup at a time and taste it as you go because it is always easier to add more than it is to try and tone down an overpowering flavour. Start with a teaspoon at a time would be my suggestion.
Anyway, back to the barbecue, I took the Baklava to lunch and considering it was family (who I would have thought would be over traditional Mediterranean sweets by now) I didn’t expect a big response to my dish but I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was most of it gone by the time I bothered to look, my step mother (bless her heart) told me it was perfect!! Yay 🙂
2 cups/ 500g sugar
2 cups / 500ml water
½ lemon juiced
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
One quantity of syrup
2 cups / 225g pistachio, walnuts or almonds, coarsely chopped
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon,
½ teaspoon ground cloves,
375g / 1 packet Filo pastry at room temperature
250g ghee, melted (or unsalted butter if you really cant get hold of ghee, better still, buy the butter and watch my video of how to make Ghee and make some yourself . Check it out on YouTube here:
Make the syrup and leave to cool. Preheat oven to moderate 180°C (350°F/Gas mark 4). Brush the base and sides of a 30 x 25 cm cake tin with melted butter. In a bowl combine the chopped nuts, sugar, cinnamon and cloves powder. Remove a single sheet of Filo pastry at a time, fold each sheet in half and place in tray. Brush the top with butter and fold in edges to fit. Repeat using half the packet of filo pastry making sure to brush with butter on each sheet, overlap and fold the sides where necessary. Sprinkle the nut mixture over pastry and then continue to layer the pastry with the remaining sheets. Pour remaining butter over the top. Cut into diamond or square shapes, making sure to cut right through to the base. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the Baklava is puffed and lightly golden on top. Remove Baklava from oven and pour the cooled syrup over the hot Baklava Leave to cool before cutting along the diagonals again to remove from the tray.
Note : Cover remaining pastry with a damp tea towel to keep from drying out. Baklava can be prepared days in advance, stored in the fridge and baked on the day they are to be served. They will also keep for several days after baking in a cool oven or air tight container, but do not store in the fridge.