Sunday, 5 April 2009

Baklava with Vanilla-Mascarpone

This delicious mini pastry comes somewhere from the middle-east.....turkey or something (it´s all the same to me). It is unbelievably sweet and you get quite enough after a few bites but those bites are worth the effort of making these. I urge you not to be scared of making these but you must follow the method really well because the filo pastry is really fragile and it can dry up really quickly. Good luck :)

Makes 20 baklavas

378g filo pastry, one packet
180g butter, melted
2tsp water

150g walnuts
60g sugar
1tsp cinnamon

honey syrup
375g honey
165g sugar
250ml water
1 lemon, zest and juice

Preheat oven to 180°C To make the filling, spread the walnuts on a baking tray and lightly toast in the preheated oven for 5-8 minutes or until aromatic. Cool.

Combine walnuts, pistachios, sugar and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor and process using the pulse button until they are finely chopped.

Remove the filo pastry from its packet and lie flat on the work bench. Cover with a dry tea towel and then a damp tea towel. (This will keep the filo from drying out while making the baklava.)

Brush a shallow 18 x 28cm cake tin with some of the butter. Take 1/3 of the sheets of filo. Brush the top sheet generously with butter and fold into thirds to make a rectangle the size of the tin.

Place in the base of the buttered tin and brush surface with butter.
Continue layering with the left over 1/3 of pastry. Spread 1/2 of the nut filling over the filo to cover. Layer 1/2 of the remaining filo sheets as before. Spread left over nut filling over filo and top with the remaining layered buttered filo sheets. Lightly brush top with remaining butter.

Using a sharp knife, cut a diamond pattern into the top layer of filo and sprinkle with the water.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Cover with foil and cook for 45 minutes longer or until the filo layers are cooked through.

Meanwhile, to make the honey syrup, combine honey, sugar, water, lemon rind and juice in a saucepan and stir over high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and maintain over medium heat for 10 minutes or until the syrup has thickened slightly.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. When cooked, remove baklava from the oven and immediately pour the cooled syrup evenly over the surface. Stand to cool completely. Cover with foil and store at room temperature in the tin for up to 2 weeks.

Cut into diamond shapes to serve with espresso coffee or as a dessert with whipped cream.

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