Pockets of crunchy, sweet and delicious nuttiness dating back to the Ottoman Empire and still difficult to resist!
Photographs: Natasha Liviero / Pexels
Text: Natasha Liviero
Makes approx 54 pieces
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup pistachios, chopped
1 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tbsp castor sugar
200g salted butter, melted
Phyllo pastry (approximately 9 sheets)
Set oven to 1300C.
Begin making the syrup by combining the water, sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves, and lemon juice and bringing it to a boil over medium heat. Boil for around 15-20 minutes until a light syrup consistency develops. Set aside to cool completely.
Combine the chopped nuts, cinnamon powder, and castor sugar in a bowl.
Take a sheet of phyllo pastry, fold it half lengthways and measure the longest edge. Choose a baking tray slightly longer than the folded phyllo sheet, as the rolls must fit snugly when baking. For this recipe, a 36cm x 28cm baking tray fits 9 rolls of baklava.
Lightly butter the bottom of your baking tray. Butter a single sheet of phyllo pastry, fold it half length-ways, and butter it again. With a teaspoon, carefully spoon the nut mixture along the long edge of the pastry. Roll the edge snugly over the nuts, tuck in and gently roll up the remainder of the pastry. Repeat with the remaining phyllo sheets and nuts until your tray is full.
Slice each completed phyllo roll into 6cm slices before baking for 1h15 — 1h20. The phyllo will be slightly coloured and crisp all around.
Remove from the oven and immediately spoon the cooled syrup over the hot baklava. The amount you spoon over the baklava will depend on how syrupy you like it. For a 36cm x 28cm baking tray, It will be somewhere between 3/4 of the total amount of syrup.
Leave to cool in the baking tray. Most of the syrup absorbs into the baklava as it cools.
Store cooled baklava in the tray covered tightly with cling film or transfer it to an airtight container and store it in a cool room for up to three days.
Notes: If you need to use a much larger tray, simply double the ingredient quantities.