Most people are familiar with Greek-style baklava. Turkish baklava is a little different – it is sweetened with ‘serbet’, a light syrup made from sugar, water and lemon juice.
This makes it much lighter and crispier than most Greek or Middle Eastern varieties. Pistachio baklava is the most coveted of all so here’s our version:
The key (we are told) is to use moist sheets of filo. To keep the dough moist while you work, cover the sheets you’re not working with with a clean, damp kitchen towel.
- 4 cups water
- 3 cups sugar
- juice of half a lemon
- 36 sheets filo pastry
- 300g unsalted butter
- 300g raw, hulled pistachio nuts ground to a powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
Combine the water, sugar and lemon in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it simmer slowly uncovered while you work.
Mix the ground pistachio nuts with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Brush the bottom of a square or rectangular baking pan with butter (try and use a pan the same size as your pastry) and sprinkle a few pinches of the ground pistachio nuts over the butter.
Take one layer of filo and set it in the baking pan. Working quickly, brush the entire piece of filo with the butter. Repeat in the same manner with 18 leaves of filo, laying one sheet over the top of another.
Once you’ve buttered the 18th layer, evenly pour over almost all of the ground pistachio mixture – pour so they reach all the way to the edges of the pan. Retain enough nuts to sprinkle over the top at the end.
Place another layer of filo over the nuts and butter and brush with butter. Repeat until you finish the last layer. If you have extra butter left, set it to one side.
Using a sharp knife or a pastry cutter, gently cut the baklava into even squares. Drizzle the leftover butter over the top. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degs C for 45 mins.
While it is cooking remove the syrup from the hob and cool. Once the layers of pastry have puffed up high and the top layers are golden, crispy and translucent, remove from the oven. While it is still piping hot, pour the cool syrup over the baklava. Let it bubble up and then settle. Sprinkle the remaining ground nuts over the top and allow to cool. Serve at room temperature (but it is DELICIOUS a little bit warm!)