Baklava

This Baklava recipe is extremely easy to make. I developed it over the years and think this version is the best to date. The enchanting oriental aromas of the orange blossom water and rose water are well balanced. It is crunchy, nutty, flavorful and the best part? It’s not overly sweet. You can have more than a bite!

I had the opportunity to make this dessert during the Lebanese Cooking Class I gave at Aragon101. The attendees were unanimous: “Oh wow! It’s not too sweet. Let’s have another serving”.

The recipe is in two steps: The syrup and the baklava. The syrup can be made in advance and keeps well in an air tight container for up to two weeks. The baklava filling is equal parts raw cashew and blanched almonds. You can of course substitute to the nuts of your choice.

Bon appétit!

 

BAKLAVA


recipe credits: Rafaella Sargi
Makes approx. 30 Baklavas

Syrup Ingredients
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
1 teaspoon rose water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
(⅓ cup water for brushing the pot while making the syrup)

Syrup Directions
Prep all the ingredients. You will need a small pot, a pastry brush and a small container for storage.

Put the sugar and water in a small pot on medium high heat until the sugar has completely melted. Lower the heat to medium and let it simmer for 25 minutes. Using a pastry brush and a little bit of water, clean the internal sides of the pot from time to time to avoid the crystallization of the sugar. Add the lemon juice and simmer again for 10 minutes. Add the orange blossom water and rose water, simmer for a few more minutes and remove from the heat. Set aside.

Baklava Ingredients
1 ½ cup raw cashew nuts
1 ½ cup blanched almonds
½ cup syrup (previous recipe)
20 to 25 filo dough sheets
1 cup ghee (melted)
½ cup raw pistachio, ground
½ cup syrup (previous recipe)

Baklava Directions
Prep all the ingredients. You will need one rectangular cake pan (9 x 13 inch / 23 x 33 cm), humidified 2 or 3 paper towels to keep the filo dough from drying out, a medium bowl, a small food processor fitted with the blade attachment and a sharp knife.

Heat the oven to 375F (190C).
Place the cashew and almonds in the bowl of a food processor. Pulverize and mix well until finely ground. Transfer the mixed nuts to a bowl, add the ½ cup homemade syrup and mix well until homogeneously combined. Set aside.
Place 10 filo dough sheets in layers in the cake pan. You can very lightly drizzle a little bit of melted ghee on every other filo dough layer. Spread the nut mixture evenly. Cover with the remaining filo dough*. Using a sharp knife, cut the filo and nut layers into squares. Pour ½ cup melted ghee on top of the precut baklava and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until crispy and golden. Remove from the oven sprinkle with ground pistachio and ½ cup syrup and let it set for at least 30 minutes before removing from the cake pan. Separate each baklava (square) and present on a shallow flat serving dish. Enjoy!

 

*Filo dough is very delicate and can dry out easily. You can help prevent this problem by covering the dough with humidified paper towels…