First published Sep 2011. Updated June 2017.
I suppose the most well known Middle Eastern pastry. I adore baklava and find them terribly addictive, never being able to stop at a sensible number!
Unfortunately for me, when it comes to dessert, my kids are truly English, like my husband – they’re not that much into “exotic” ones! That of course means that it only makes an appearance at parties, Not so true anymore! My 2 older kids love baklava. In fact, the last time we were in Morocco, I had to pop in to the local shops at the very last minute to buy a big tub of baklava to bring home!
This is also the perfect party fare, because while you ought to make it a minimum of 12 hours before, it is so much better 5 days later! Every cook’s dream!
Is making Baklava difficult?
Not at all. It takes me about 20 – 30 minutes to grease and layer 3 times, plus adding the the nuts in between. My 13 year old, who makes this all own her own when she fancies them, takes 45 minutes for the above process. To me, the trickiest part about making baklava is the cutting of the assembled product before baking, as you have to be careful not to let the top layers slide. You’ll see what I mean. That’s why it’s imperative that you use a very, very sharp knife.
The first step to making baklava is to get the syrup done and chilled, so we’re talking at least 4 hours before or day before. If you forget, you can always make it and fast chill in the freezer, I’ve done that too many times to count now! The cold syrup will then be poured over the baklava straight out of the oven. A word to the wise, if using a glass dish, I suggest waiting 5 minutes before doing that, to avoid your glass dish protesting and cracking.
What Nuts to Use for Baklava
This is purely a matter of taste. You can go with any or a combination of the following: pistachios, walnuts or almonds. I am a fan of all pistachio baklava, and that’s what I’m using here.
Size of the Dish for Baklava
I use a rectangular dish that is around 29cm (11.5″) x 23cm (9″). This works very well for me, because the pastry I buy comes in large rectangles measuring just slightly more than double the above measurements. So, all I do, is cut the pastry sheets in half and they fit my dish almost perfectly. I cut off the extra after layering.
Sound easy? Are you ready for it?
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