Baklava

Baklava

By
From
Eat Istanbul
Makes
24 pieces
Photographer
David Loftus

Gaziantep in south-east Turkey is famed for its pastries and pistachio production. It’s not surprising that most of Istanbul’s great baklavacı shops are owned by pastry chefs from that region. Their shops contain huge round and rectangular baking trays of perfect baklava flecked with emerald-green pistachio flakes. It is also made with walnuts, almonds and mixed nuts and sometimes filled with kaymak. Traditionally they’re very syrupy, so feel free to add more syrup if you want.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
300g shelled unsalted pistachios
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
220g unsalted butter, melted
20-24 sheets filo pastry

Syrup

Quantity Ingredient
400g granulated sugar
30ml runny honey
1 cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves
2 long strips orange zest
1 tablespoon orange flower water

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons shelled unsalted pistachios, finely ground

Equipment

Quantity Ingredient
shallow 30 x 40-cm baking tin

Method

  1. For the syrup, combine the sugar and 400ml water in a saucepan over low heat and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Add the honey, cinnamon stick, cloves and orange zest and simmer for another 15 minutes, or until the syrup begins to reduce. Strain through a sieve to remove the cinnamon stick, orange zest and cloves. Stir in the orange flower water and leave to cool thoroughly.
  2. Place the 300g pistachios in a food processor and grind them coarsely. Transfer them to a bowl and mix in the ground cinnamon and cloves.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Lightly grease the baking tin with some of the melted butter, using a pastry brush. Put the filo sheets on a flat surface and cover them with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out.
  4. Lay a sheet of filo in the greased tin and brush it with melted butter. Lay another sheet on top, brush it with melted butter and keep repeating this process until you have used half the sheets. Scatter the spiced, ground pistachios all over the top. Now layer the remaining filo sheets over the pistachios, brushing each one with melted butter. Brush the top, final sheet generously with the remaining melted butter.
  5. Score the baklava into squares (about 6cm wide) or diamond shapes with a sharp knife, making sure that it cuts about three-quarters of the way through the filo sheets. Bake the baklava in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, then lower the heat to 160˚C and bake for another 30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
  6. Remove the baklava from the oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes before pouring the cooled syrup over it. Let it cool completely before cutting out the scored shapes and serving each piece sprinkled with the ground pistachios.
Tags:
Istanbul
Turkey
Turkish food
Middle Eastern
Andy Harris
David Loftus
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