Big thanks to Erica of Erica's Edibles - what a wonderful challenge..
Believe it or not, I have been wanting to do the baklava's for years... I love to cook with anything Mid-Eastern flavour and baklava is in the heart of a lot of cuisines in the region, Greek, Turkish, Lebonese.... Different flavours, shapes...
But, I've never done it... it's all too easy to get the little treats from the local delis or cake shops, we are living in a traditionally very Greek Italian influenced area. Not only we get really good wood fire oven pizzas, we also get all the yummy treats and sometimes it's just over the otherside of the fence from the next door neighbour, who makes the perfect Greek coffee and all the traditional treats from scratch...
Alright, back to the challenge. I will have to do it now as it's the challenge. I must admit that although I have been wanting to make filo pastry from scratch for a while (we usually call them filo not phyllo here in Australia), I know it's a tough pastry to do...
Time to get enough courage, the recipe by Eric was a very good guide.
Please scroll down to the bottom of the recipe, and watch the youtube video for rolling filo pastry,... I don't have the thin long dowel but thanks to the non stick rolling pin I bought a while back, I've done mine... with a bit of pain, I wouldn't say it's easy.
It's not so difficult to make the fillings.
The amount I use is very similar to Eric's recipe, and I toasted my almonds and pistachio's first,
before processing it with dates and dry cranberries.
I also added a bit of lemon peels. It only takes a few minutes to break everything down and it's also the perfect process to mix the cardemon, nutmeg, cinnamon and sugar with the crushed nuts and dry fruits very well.
I brushed the sheets with clarified butter which I made earlier.
You can use ghee, but it's easy to make clarified butter anyway, and a lot cheaper. 3 sheets for the bottom layer.
Lay the mix into the tray, using about half of the filling mix.
I layed another 2 sheets in the middle to give it a bit of crunch, brushing the sheets with butter as I go, and the rest of the filling mix.
Layed 2 more sheets on top, add plenty of butter, and cut the shape out, put it in the 180C oven for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the syrup. I did make a lott more of the syrup compared to the recipe, added more lemon juice and orange juice, as I can use the left over syrup to sweeten my home made yoghurt later on. Strain the syrup through the sieve once it's done.
Once the baklava's baked, take out of the oven and while hot, pour hot syrup over the baklava, and when it's cooled, serve...
Brought some to work today and shared with mates during our morning quiz time... Happy team.