Sunday, 20 December 2009


More September Cooking:

I can't believe that I made this baklava back in September and I haven't posted about it until now. I was so proud of my baklava too!!

I have been having lots of fun with Greek flavours, making things like Kreatopetes, Greek Chicken with Horiatiki Salad (not exactly the hardest thing to make, but still...), Avgolemono and Pastitsio. I've now got a copy of George Calombaris' book Greek Cooking from the Hellenic Heart too, so I've got lots more recipes to try!

Although the pastitsio has been the most complicated thing I've tried to date, it seemed so simple compared to this baklava. I had built baklava up in my head so much that I didn't think I'd be able to make it at home. I wanted to try though, so this is my attempt. Although I was disappointed in the flavour initially, I have to say that it turned out a lot better than I thought. Letting it sit and the flavours develop is a necessity.

I visited Samios' Fine Foods in Woollongabba and picked up this lovely Cretan honey for the syrup. It added a beautifully complex flavour to the finished pastry. I also picked up some walnuts and almonds for the nut mix.

I halved the original reciple, which can be found here, simply because I don't have any large baking trays. This meant I did have to make some adjustments to the filo before I started layering which was quite fiddly. Do you think I could convince D that I need a new baking tray so I can make baklava without having to cut ends of the filo? Hmmm.

I did have a little bit of trouble with the bottom layer as I misread the recipe and didn't put down enough filo sheets, but I don't think anyone noticed.

After a night in the refigerator it tasted amazing. It was as good as some of the baklava I've puchased. I took it to work to share with my colleagues and they all seemed to like it as well. One of my colleagues is Greek and she said that I made it very well, which was great feedback and made me even prouder of my baklava. D loved it as well, which was surprising. He's never really been interested in any of the Greek sweets I like to smuggle into the kitchen from time to time. This recipe is a great one too, clear and easy to follow.

from evelyn/athens on Recipezaar
(note I've halved this recipe, see the link for ingredients as written)


1 cup honey (preferably Greek thyme or a good quality honey)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
lemon peel (without pith - 2 inch-long piece)
orange peel (without pith - 2 inch-long piece)


2 cups coarsley ground walnuts
1 cup coarsley ground almonds
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
21g butter, melted
220g filo pastry
225g unsalted butter, melted (don't use less, this is what will make your baklava taste exceptional, and it has to be BUTTER!)
whole cloves

Make syrup first so that it can come to room temperature: In a small saucepan, combine honey, sugar and water. Bring to a slow boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Add lemon juice, cinnamon sticks and peels and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove peels and cinnamon sticks and allow to come to room temperature before using.

Combine walnuts, almonds, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves and 21g melted butter together in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

Place filo between sheets of waxed paper and cover with a slightly damp towel to prevent it from drying out. Brush bottom and sides of an 9x6 inch pan generously with melted butter.

Cut the filo to fit your pan if necessary. Place 8 filo sheets into bottom of pan, brushing each sheet generously with butter, allowing sheets to drape over each of the 4 sides of pan. Brush these with melted butter.

Spread 1 cups of nut mixture into pan, distributing evenly over bottom. Fold over the overlapping filo sheets brushing each with butter, to envelop the nut mixture.

Repeat layering process 2 more times to form 3 nut layers.

Top pastry with remaining sheets and generously brush top layer with melted butter. Tuck in the buttered filo neatly around.

Score through top layers of pastry with a sharp knife to form diamond shaped pieces. Stud each diamond-shaped piece (and any odd looking ones near the ends of the pan) in the centre with a whole clove per piece. Pour remaining melted butter over pastry and lightly sprinkle some water on top too (wet your hand under the tap twice and shake this out over the pastry).

Bake pastry in a 165°C oven for 1 hour, until nicely golden-brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Carefully spoon cool syrup over pastry. Allow to stand at least 3 hours or overnight. Cut through the scored pieces and serve. I removed the cloves before cutting as they are not traditionally eaten.

1 comment:

  1. WOW! I need to stop reading your blog early in the morning as after I look at your posts, I get nothing done for the rest of the day except thinking about food!