The basic technique for baklava is relatively straightforward – layer fillo; add butter – but there's scope for experimentation in the soaking syrup. We've added cinnamon and lemon, but try it with rosewater, orange blossom, or with honey instead of sugar.
- 200 gm pistachio nuts
- 400 gm (4 cups) walnuts
- 75 gm (⅓ cup) caster sugar
- 375 gm fillo pastry
- 180 gm butter, melted
- 200 gm caster sugar
- Zested rind of 1 lemon
- 1Grease a 3cm-deep, 25cm-26cm round oven dish or cake pan.
- 2Process nuts and sugar in a food processor until finely chopped and combined.
- 3Working with one fillo sheet at a time (cover remaining fillo with a damp tea towel while you work), lay two-thirds of a sheet over the base of the dish, brush with butter, and fold overhanging fillo back over onto the base, brushing again with butter. Repeat with 9 more sheets, laying them at varying angles to cover the circular pan. Scatter half the nut mixture over the top, then top with half the remaining fillo sheets to cover, brushing each layer with butter as you go. Scatter with remaining nuts and cover with remaining sheets of fillo, brushing with butter, then place a final sheet of fillo on top, trimming it neatly to fit. Smooth top and brush with butter, then refrigerate until firm (1 hour).
- 4Preheat oven to 180°C. With a sharp knife, cut baklava into 8 even wedges (imagine cutting a pizza), then within each wedge make two sets of two cuts to form diamonds. Bake until crisp, golden and cooked through (35-45 minutes; cover loosely with foil partway through cooking if the top is browning too quickly).
- 5Meanwhile, for syrup, combine ingredients with 300ml water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve sugar, then remove from heat and leave to infuse (15-20 minutes). Remove cinnamon quill and discard.
- 6Cool baklava briefly (2-3 minutes), then pour the syrup over it. Allow to cool completely at room temperature (overnight if possible) before serving. Baklava will keep, covered tightly in the tray, for 2 days.
Drink suggestion: Sweet auslese riesling. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.
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