Pistachio and cashew baklava

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Baklava can be tooth achingly sweet and sometimes that sweetness overpowers, as if there’s varying textures of sweetness and nothing else. But when you’ve tasted baklava from one of its (many!) home counties, it's almost like a rude awakening to the fact that there is more to it than 10 cups of sugar.

Super fresh baklava is gooey, the syrup seeps when you bite into it and it’s less cloying than the stuff sitting on the supermarket shelves collecting dust. You won’t find rose or orange blossom water in the authentic Ottoman versions (i
f you let the rosewater bubble away with the sugar the results are only slightly floral which I prefer) because the pistachios are fresh enough to hold their own. Have you ever tasted fresh pistachios? They taste so…green. And expensive. I love the almost bland creaminess of cashews, so I’ve paired them with pistachios in this recipe to economically bulk the nuts out. 
The baklava from Karak√∂y in Istanbul is drenched in melted sheep’s butter. I mean, it’s nice, but you couldn’t sit there and eat a whole tray of sheepy baklava, and luckily this kind of butter isn’t widely available in England so unsalted cow’s butter (expect to see ‘cow’s butter’ in my recipe lists from now on ;)) does the job.

PS, I’ll leave making my own filo pastry off the agenda for now, or until I grow a beard and look like one of these guys.
Pistachio and cashew baklava

Makes 1 tray of baklava, aprox 20+ pieces,

Ingredients
  • 250g unsalted butter
For the syrup
  • 250g unrefined sugar  
  • Dash rosewater (optional)
  • 1 tbsp honey
For the pastry
  • 250g packet fresh filo pastry 
  • 100g cashews 
  • 100g pistachios

Recipe
  1. The first step is to clarify the butter. Place the block in a small saucepan and heat on low until completely melted. Turn the heat up only slightly and let it bubble until foam stops coming up to the top. Use a metal spoon to skim off the foam and discard. Pour the liquid through a fine sieve to get rid of the milk solids, repeat if there is foam/milk solids still floating around. Set aside.
  2. Add 200g of cold water to a medium sized heavy bottomed saucepan along with the sugar and rose water. Boil rapidly on high heat for 7-10 minutes, but keep an eye out as it can burn. Stir in the honey then transfer to a jug and set aside to cool. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 180 Fan C. Add the cashews and half the pistachios into a food processor and blitz until fine and almost powdery, and then add the rest of the pistachios and pulse a few times until roughly chopped. 
  4. 4Carefully lay the filo on a clean work surface and place a 30cm x 14cm sized rectangular tin on top, making sure it's the right way up. Use a sharp knife to cut around the base of the tin. Lower half the filo sheets inside the tin, evenly spread the nut mixture on top and place the second half of the filo sheets on top. Use a sharp knife to cut 1-inch strips along the shorter length of the tin. Then cut diagonal strips 1-inch apart along the width of the tin, so that you end up with lots of triangles. 
  5. Pour the clarified butter (you may need to reheat) evenly over the pastries and bake for 25 minutes or until the tops of the baklavas are golden. Immediately pour the cooled syrup over the hot baklava, cover, and leave to rest for 3 hours or overnight before serving. 

Love Em xx

7 comments:

  1. This looks so perfect. I'm kind of drooling abit at work. You are awesome!

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  2. Yum! This looks so syrupy and delicious. What Sophie said :-) x

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  3. I love bakalava! I haven't made it with cashews before so will have to give it a go!

    Rachel x


    www.foodnerd4life.com

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  4. Looks Yummy, amazing pics. will be adding it to my list of recipes to test out. http://doinglifemyway.com

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  5. I never really liked baklava until visiting a Lebanese restaurant, and they offered some and I was like nooo, me no like...but I did end up after persuasion liking it, and now realise it is actually quite lovely! Your diamonds look perfect, yum!

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  6. Baklava is a food group in an of itself. When I lived in Istanbul, I used to eat it for lunch (super nutritious!) and I can't wait to go back in a couple months and go to town on it again. :)

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