Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Turkish Baklava with Pistachios & Walnuts

turkish baklava

Baklava is one of my favourite treats whenever I go to Turkey. It's so good when it's fresh, that I'm always a little disappointed by what you can buy in the UK. I do, however, have a local Turkish grocery store that sells baklava pastry sheets. It was basically inevitable that I would end up making my own.

I used Ozlem's baklava recipe as a basis for mine, though I've tweaked it a little, in particular by using ground almonds for half of the filling which gives a much smoother texture than anything I was able to get with nuts I'd chopped myself. I also found I needed quite a bit more butter (oops?).

I quite fancy having a go at some of the more complicated shapes soon, but for now, I've just made it a couple of times in basic squares.

Turkish baklava

Turkish baklava

Turkish baklava

Turkish baklava

Turkish baklava

Turkish Baklava with Pistachios & Walnuts
Makes one large tray

1 pack baklava pastry (470g / 1lb)
250g (9oz) butter
200g (7oz) ground almonds
100g (3½oz) walnuts
100g (3½oz) pistachios
Plus a few extra pistachios (finely chopped) for decoration

For the syrup:
500g (17oz) granulated sugar
420ml (1¾ cups) hot water
2tbsp lemon juice
  1. First make the syrup by dissolving the sugar in the hot water.
  2. Simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes, then add the lemon juice.
  3. Set the syrup aside to cool.
  4. Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F).
  5. Unfold the baklava pastry, and count the sheets (so you know how many layers you're making).
  6. You need a large baking tray with deep sides. Mine is 22x33cm (9x13in). Do NOT use a non-stick / coated tin as you will be using a sharp knife on it!
  7. Before greasing your baking tray, use one sheet of pastry to work out the best way of folding the sheets to fit neatly into the tray. Mine fit reasonably well by just folding the sheets in half, but your answer will depend on the shape of your tin as well as the size of sheets in your pack. You may find it easiest to cut the sheets to size with a pair of scissors before you start.
  8. Melt half of the butter, and use a little butter to grease the baking tray.
  9. Take the first sheet of pastry and lay it in the tin. Brush lightly with butter, then fold (if you're using large sheets) or add another layer (if you've cut them to size). If your tin has rounded corners, fold the pastry corners underneath out of the way.
  10. Continue to layer up the pastry, brushing every sheet with butter, until you've used half of the pastry. If you have an odd number of sheets, put the extra one in the bottom half.
  11. Spread the ground almonds evenly across the top of the pastry.
  12. Finely chop the walnuts and pistachios, and sprinkle over the almonds.
  13. Melt the remaining butter, and continue to add layers of pastry, brushing with butter as before. Make sure to brush the top sheet thoroughly with the last of the butter (melt a little extra if you're short).
  14. With a sharp knife, cut the baklava into diamonds or triangles, making sure to cut through all the layers.
  15. Bake for one hour, until the top is golden brown and crispy.
  16. Remove from the oven and pour the syrup over the pastry, as evenly as you can manage (but don't panic, it will level itself out a bit as it soaks in).
  17. Bake for a further 5 minutes.
  18. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool in the tin.
  19. Once the baklava is cold, you should be able to lift the pieces out with a baking slice. If you didn't cut fully through the bottom layers, you may need to help it along with a knife at this stage.
  20. Serve at room temperature, sprinkled with a few extra chopped pistachios.


Rebecca Subbiah said...

yum have a weakness for baklava

Rachel said...

I love Baklava too. Must look out out for the pastry sheets and have a go!

Midnight Cowgirl said...

Oh, yum, I love baklava!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Definitely one to try - looks delicious!

Angie Schneider said...

This looks so GOOD! We were at Turkish store yesterday and I wish I had grabbed a bag of pastry while I was there busy looking for the spices and legumes.

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