Yet another dish fought over and its identity claimed by so many different nationalities! Certainly all the countries of the middle east, no exception. As well as Turkey. And ofcourse Greece.
Personally, I prefer the middle-eastern version. Whatever the filling, it is always lighter & crispier than its Greek cousin. No offense meant to my adopted country!
1pkt filo pastry
2 sticks butter melted
400 grs shelled pistachios
100 grs hazlenuts
place the nuts in a food processor and give them a couple of whirls. Do not grind into a powder, you should still be able to see and identify the nuts!
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
juice of half a lemon
place your sugar and water in a small saucepan
when all the sugar has been disolved
squeeze-in the juice of half a lemon
keep simmering until the mixture starts sticking to the back of the spoon
add one tbsp rose-bud water to give it that middleastern touch (in Arabic it is called “mazahr” as opposed to “maward” which I dislike tremendously!)
set your syrup aside to cool
separate the sheets of pastry in two halves
brush your tray with butter
start laying your pastry sheets brushing with butter between each sheet
when half the sheets have been used, spread your nuts evenly over the whole tray
continue with the other half of your pastry sheets, one at a time, brushing butter between each sheet
finish with another good brush of butter
cut your uncooked baklava tray in diamond shapes
you need to cut deeply, almost all the way through before baking (if you leave your cutting till afterwards you will end up with a crumbled mess! (so sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the unbaked version!)
Bake in a 180centigrade pre-heated oven for approx. 45mns
keep checking on the colour of your baklava as every oven is different
when you’re happy with its colour remove it from the oven and immediately pour on it the cooled syrup
in order not to end up with a soggy baklava, you need to make sure that one of your two items (baklava or syrup) is hot and the other one cold. If the 2 are hot it will be soggy, and if the 2 are cold the syrup will just sit on top of the baklava without penetrating its layers. I prefer to make the syrup ahead of time and set aside to cool, before placing my Baklava in the oven. This way its ready for pouring as soon as the Baklava is out.