Thursday, August 4, 2011


I felt after all the croissants and macarons, I should return to my Turkish roots with baklava. You can actually make this with ready-made filo pastry, but I think it's brilliant when handmade. And it's somewhat fun the roll out the tissue-thin pastry. For a truly Turkish experience, enjoy with tea and moustache.

For the filo pastry:
(this will fill a 12x20cm pan)

185gm all purpose {plain} flour
pinch of salt
1/2 cup less 1 tbsp water, plus more if needed
2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Wheat starch, to roll out dough

In the bowl of your stand mixer combine flour and salt. Mix with paddle attachment.Combine water, oil and vinegar in a small bowl.Add water & oil mixture with mixer on low speed, mix until you get a soft dough, if it appears dry add a little more water. Change to the dough hook and let knead approximately 10 minutes. You will end up with beautiful smooth dough. If you are kneading by hand, knead approx. 20 minutes. 

Remove the dough from mixer and continue to knead for 2 more minutes. Pick up the dough and through it down hard on the counter a few times during the kneading process. Shape the dough into a ball and lightly cover with oil. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest 2 hours at least.

Unwrap your dough and cut off a chunk slightly smaller than a golf ball. While you are rolling be sure to keep the other dough covered so it doesn’t dry out. Starch your hands, rolling pin and counter. As you roll you will need to keep adding, don’t worry, you can’t over-starch. 

When you get it as thin as you can with the rolling pin, carefully pick it up with well floured hands and stretch it on the backs of your hands as you would a pizza dough, just helps make it that much thinner. Roll out your dough until it is transparent. Set aside on a well-starched surface. Repeat the process until your dough is used up.

For the syrup:

(make this ahead of time so that is has cooled down by the time the dough is done)

1 cups cold water
1.5 cups sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

Combine the cold water with the sugar in a medium-size saucepan. Boil the mixture for 5 minutes, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 15-30 minutes. The syrup is ready when it is light yellow, and when a small spoonful dropped onto a wooden surface is tacky when cooled.  Once ready, stir in the lemon juice into the syrup and set it aside to cool.

For the filling:

1 cup nuts (I used hazelnut, but you can also use pistachios or walnuts)
125g unsalted butter

Place the nuts and sugar in a food processor and process until medium to finely ground (but not too fine!). Set aside.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter. It will separate into 3 layers: a foamy froth on top, a clear liquid in the middle and a white solid at the bottom. When the butter is heated through and no more foam is developing, remove from heat. Remove the foam with a spoon. You want to keep the yellow liquid. You can save it by decanting it from the saucepan without disturbing the milk solids, or strain it through a cheesecloth-lined strainer.

Brush the inside of a 12x20cm baking pan (if your phyllo dough is bigger than your pan, let it hang over and trim it off at the end to fit) with a little bit of the clarified butter. Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough in the pan. With a wide pastry brush or paper towel, lightly brush the dough with the clarified butter. Continue layering the dough and brushing with butter until one package of dough is used.

Spread the nuts over the dough and lightly sprinkle it with water – a plant mister is best- to help the dough adhere to the nuts where the next layer is added. Using the second package of phyllo dough, layer the dough over the nuts, brushing each sheet with clarified butter. Trim the pastry edges to fit neatly within the baking pan. Brush the top layer and the edges with clarified butter.

Using a sharp knife dipped in hot water, cut through the dough halfway down the height of the pan to make small pieces.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Bake the baklava in the centre of the oven for 10-15 minutes. Lower the heat to 150 degrees C and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until the top is lightly golden. Remove the baklava from the oven and let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Recut the pastries along the lines, all the way to the bottom of the baking pan. Pour the cold syrup evenly over the cut lines. Sprinkle the baklava with chopped nuts, if so desired, and let it cool completely. Serve at room temperature.

Source: Passionate about baking, tastespace


  1. Oh this is certainly not fair. Even seeing the labels while writing the comment is painful :(

  2. I'm working on home delivery - but so far it's confined to my own home =)