Heavenly baklava

Baklava has been a long time favourite of us, but I never really attempted to make them at home, until I read the book of Deborah Rodriguez, The little coffee shop of Kabul. In the book she describes some Afghan food, sweets and gives a few recipies, too. When I reached the section about baklava I knew I was lost, I had to make it!!

This syrupy, sticky, crispy and melting nutty goodness parfumed with a choice of exotic spices is a real delight! A little piece of it will take your coffee or tea drinking up into seventh heaven!

Just a word of advise though: you might want to share it with friends and neighbours as keeping the whole lot in a close distance will definitely challenge your resistance with a pretty high chance of failure!!! 


This recipe below is what I find the best combination of the Turkish, Lebanese and Greek baklavas that I have tasted and the Afghan one that I have read about.


1 pack of filo pastry 1 cup of melted butter 2 cups of finely chopped walnuts 1 tsp of ground cardamom 1 tsp of ground cinnamon 1 cup of finely chopped pistachios 2 cups of sugar (to be divided for the filling: 1 cup and for the sugar syrup: 1 cup) 1 cup of honey 1 cup of water 1 lemon: the rind and the juice of it a pinch of saffron 1 tbsp of rosewater


Preheat the oven to 180C degree. Butter liberally a small 20X30 cm pan. Mix the walnuts with 1 cup of sugar, the ground cardamom and cinnamon and set aside. Take your filo sheet out of the packaging and keep them between cling film so they cannot dry out. WIth a food scissor cut approximately the same size out of the sheets (at once) as the pan. Put one sheet inside the pan and brush it with a bit of melted butter, then put on top of it another sheet. Continue until you have 5 sheets on top of each other then add 1/3 of the walnut filling and spread on the top. Put another filo sheet on top and brush it up slightly with butter and continue again until you put the fifth. Then spread on top of it another third of the filling, then again the filo...In the end you will have 4 times 5 filo sheets and 3 spread of filling layered. Cut the baklava into equal small sizes in the pan with a sharp knife, square or diamond shape. Be sure that you cut through to the bottom. Put the pan into the oven for about 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden brown. If your oven would brown the top too quick then you can put some alu foil on the top of the pan. While the baklava is baking prepare the syrup: mix the water, the honey and the 1 cup of sugar in small pan, add the zest and juice of the lemon and a pinch of saffron. Bring it to the boil then reduce the heat and bubble it for about 10 minutes to thicken the syrup. When it is ready, take it off from the heat and add the rosewater. After taking out the baklava from the oven pour about half of the syrup on the top all over. Repeat with the rest after a few minutes. Sprinkle the pistachio on top. Wait (if you can) that the baklava cools down and soaks up the syrup in about a few hours. Enjoy!
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