Baklava

This is not a dish for the faint hearted, cos when you see how much butter it uses you would be forgiven for having a heart attack there and then… But, you’re supposed to eat in teeny tiny slices so it’s all OK really. Promise. This has been made for the forthcoming Shipley Slump taking place on the 23rd Sept. Good job I’m on a diet or I’d be scoffing it all now and having to make another it smells SOOOOOOOOOOOO divine!!!!!

For about 40 pieces you need
Baklava:
1 packet of filo or feuille de brick pastry
250g butter, melted
2.5 cups mixed nuts (I used walnuts, pistachios and hazlenuts)
1/3 cup caster sugar
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Syrup:
1.5 cups caster sugar
1.5 cups water
3 tbsp rose water
3 tbsp orange flower water
3 whole cloves
1 small cinnamon stick
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup runny honey

Begin by brushing the sides and base of a swiss roll tin with butter. Lay 9 sheets of pastry into the tin, taking care to brush thoroughly and evenly with melted butter.

Take the nuts, sugar and spices (I can’t resist adding a picture here they looked so pretty!) and sprinkle half the mixture over the butter pastry.

Place another two sheets of pastry on top, again brushing each carefully with butter, and top with the remaining nut mixture. Place the remaining sheets of pastry on the top, buttering each layer. Trim the edges and brush the top with the last bit of butter. Cut into small pieces using a sharp knife.

Bake in a moderate (140 degree) oven for 30 mins. Check, rotate the tin to ensure even cooking, and turn up to 150 degrees. Cook for a further 30 mins until the pastry is light golden brown, crisp and fully cooked.

Whilst the baklava is cooking, make the syrup. Place the water, sugar, honey, cloves and cinnamon in a pan and slowly melt. Once all the sugar is dissolved, bring to the boil and boil fast for 15 mins until the syrup is reduced, thickened and gorgeous. Carefully add the lemon juice, rose and orange flower waters (it will hiss and spit when you do this) and leave to cool for a bit.

When the baklava is cooked, remove from the oven and pour over the strained, fragrant syrup. Leave well alone for at least 48 hours, preferably longer, to let the syrup steep into the nuts and pastry. Serve with very strong coffee and forget about the calories…

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