Greek Baklava

Since we still aren’t able to go anywhere, I’m taking us back to Greece in the form of another tasty recipe! We were fortunate enough to go to Athens in 2019 and stay in a lovely hotel on the coast, I got to eat so many famous Greek salads but something I didn't get round to trying was Baklava. The original recipe is from a blog called Simply Recipes but I modified the measurements slightly as I think it works better this way. This crispy, spiced and sweet dessert is perfect as a little snack or to binge on when you’re looking for something a bit more indulgent! 

I’d never actually had baklava before I made it for myself, it tasted delicious, so I guess I did something right? Although the Filo pastry is VERY delicate and it's quick to over-cook in the oven, this is definitely not a difficult recipe, it just uses a few ingredients that you might have to treat yourself to for once. 

Makes between 22-50 servings 

200g Chopped Nuts (I used a mix of walnuts and pistachios) 
400g Filo Pastry (approx 20-30 sheets)
100g Butter, melted 
67g Granulated Sugar 
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon 
Pinch of Ground Cloves 

For The Syrup:

240ml Water 
120g Sugar 
2 tbsp Honey
1 tbsp Lemon Juice 
1 Cinnamon Stick 

To start with lightly grease a 9x13cm tray and preheat your oven to 170C/ 150 Fan/ Gas Mark 3. Take your filo pastry out of the packet and lay it on a flat, clean surface, you may need to cut the sheets in half so they fit on your pan, after that, lay a damp tea towel over the pastry to stop it from drying out. 

Process/ crush the nuts into small pieces, they don’t have to be really small just even enough to fit neatly on the pastry. 

Add sugar, cinnamon, and cloves into the nuts and combine them all together. You can also melt your butter, but keep it in a separate bowl. 

Put one sheet of filo pastry onto your greased tray and lightly brush the pastry with the melted butter using a pastry brush, this will help to crisp up the pastry but also stop it from going dry with the filling when cooking. 

Repeat this process 7 more times until you have 8 sheets of buttered filo layered on top of each other!

On your top layer, spoon over a thin amount of the sugar and nuts, we need another 8 sheets of pastry for the top so put another 8 sheets to one side too, I didn't have 8 sheets leftover so if you’re like me, just put aside at least 2-3. 

Keep building up your layers of buttered filo and filling until you’ve used up all the sheets and have put the 8 sheets on top. 

Now you can cut into equal-sized servings, I decided to go with bite-sized ones and ended up with 60 servings but I think it would be way better if you cut it into 24 rather than 60!

Once it’s sliced up, put the baklava in the oven for between 20-30 minutes until the pastry is crispy and golden. 

While that's baking we can make the syrup for our topping! Combine all the syrup ingredients into a saucepan on medium-low heat.

Allow the mixture to come to a boil before slightly reducing the heat and let it simmer for around 7 minutes until you see the mixture has thickened a bit when you stir it. 

Allow the syrup to cool for about 15 minutes and pour it straight onto the baklava as you bring it out hot from the oven! Let this set for at least 4 hours. I couldn’t wait for all of it and tried a bit on its own, but once the 4 hours were up the syrup had stewed with the baklava mix and pastry and it was GOOD.

See, it wasn’t that difficult, was it? Just the look of this shiny baklava is enough to make me dive in, then you hit the crispy pastry and the sweet, nutty filling and you realise why this is such a popular dessert dish for much of Eastern Europe, every country (and pretty much every household) has their own way of making baklava but you always end up with the same more-ish outcome! I really enjoyed making this and reminiscing about all the wonderful food and sights we came across in Athens, when you get a chance to go on a plane again try and make Athens one of your first destinations…but until then, we can practice our Baklava making skills! 

H x