Baqlawa

Baqlawa

Almond and cardamom pastry

By
From
The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Makes
40
Photographer
Alan Benson

Though baklava is regarded as a Greek pastry, its popularity extends throughout the Middle East. The Persian version differs considerably in that it uses a greater proportion of nuts, and is perfumed with rosewater and flavoured with cardamom.

Baqlawa and the celebration of Now Rooz (New Year) go hand in hand. It is one of the special foods prepared in abundance for this joyful celebration.

For the best flavour, use freshly ground or pounded cardamom, unless the quality of the ready-ground product is very good.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
300g ground almonds
155g almonds, finely chopped
230g caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
185g ghee, melted
10 sheets fillo pastry

Syrup

Quantity Ingredient
440g sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon rosewater

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Combine the ground and chopped almonds in a bowl with the sugar and cardamom.
  3. Brush a 25 × 33 cm baking dish with the melted clarified butter or ghee. Place three fillo pastry sheets in the dish, brushing each sheet with butter, including the top. Sprinkle one-third of the nut mixture over the top.
  4. Add two more pastry sheets, again buttering each sheet. Repeat with another two layers of nut mixture, with two buttered pastry sheets between each layer.
  5. Top the last layer of nuts with three sheets of fillo, buttering each sheet as before, including the top.
  6. Trim the edges with a sharp knife. Carefully cut through the pastry and nut layers in diamond shapes. Drizzle the remaining melted butter over the top, letting it run into the cuts and around the sides of the baqlawa. Place on the centre shelf of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Raise the shelf one notch above the centre and bake for another 5–10 minutes, or until the pastry is a pale golden brown.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the syrup. In a heavy-based saucepan, dissolve the sugar in 375 ml water over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Bring to the boil, add the lemon juice and cardamom then boil rapidly for 15–18 minutes without stirring, or until the syrup is thick when a little is tested on a cold saucer. Stir in the rosewater and remove from the heat. Set aside until the pastry is cooked.
  8. Remove the baqlawa from the oven and pour the warm syrup evenly over the hot pastry. Leave for at least 2 hours before cutting again and removing from the dish.
  9. The pastry may be left in the dish, covered lightly with a fine cloth to protect it from dust, and will remain crisp for 3–4 days. Any left after serving may be stored in a sealed container for several days, though the crispness will decrease. Do not refrigerate.
Tags:
The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Tess
Mallos
Middle Eastern
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