Saturday 11 August 2012

Olympic Challenge – Europe – Baklava

Well, they are nearly over, and for not being much of a sport fan – I have become immersed in these Olympic games. We in the UK don’t do too badly for a wee island do we?

And for that last continent, there were a few suggestions of a British variety – but I really wanted to go back to where it all started. And thanks to Daz from Sydney for the suggestion of baklava – the quintessential Greek dessert. The Greeks gave us the Olympic games and this (yummy) dessert.

I have to say, I am not a fan of baklava, but I know many of my ‘eaters’ are. So I would have no problem giving them away. I’m just not a huge fan of pastry or honey, so it was quite strange making something I knew I wouldn’t enjoy.

I found a simple recipe at All Recipes, which had fewer ingredients than some, so might not be hugely authentic, but hey, you get the gist!

Yield: 36 little pastries

One pack of filo pastry
16 ounces of chopped nuts (I mixed pistachios and walnuts)
225 grams unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
250 ml water
250 grams granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
110 grams of honey

Grease a 9”x9” baking pan and pre-heat your oven to 180oC.
Toss your nuts with the cinnamon and put to one side. Open your pack of filo pastry and measure it and cut it, so each sheet will fit perfectly in the pan. Place the pastry on a cutting board and cover with damp paper towels, so it doesn’t dry out.

Take one sheet of filo and place in the bottom of the pan. Taking a pastry brush, wash melted butter over the pastry and layer with another sheet, more butter and so on, until you have eight sheets stacked up. Next, sprinkle your nut and cinnamon mix over the pastry and begin to layer more pastry and butter for another eight sheets. Using a sharp knife, cut a criss-cross pattern on the pastry, cutting all the way through the layers. Pop into the over for 45 to 50 minutes.

Towards the last 20 minutes of baking, place the honey, water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then simmer gently until the baking time is up. Remove the pan from the oven then immediately pour your syrup over the pastry, so it soaks into all of the cuts. Now leave this to cool for several hours.

When ready to eat, cut out the diamonds with a knife and enjoy. Now, as I said this is not my cup of tea, but my colleagues wolfed it down and thoroughly loved it. It is easy, so go ahead tuck in!

There we have it - Olympic Challenge completed - From Oceania to Europe - the world really isn't that big now is it? Thanks again to all those who submitted suggestions!


  1. I love baklava - it's that combination of crunch and squidge! Glad to see yours don't include rose water, so many people are heavy handed with it and it's like eating a bathroom freshener!
    That last photo is nothing short of food porn!

    1. Not a fan of rose water either CC - glad I didn't find a recipe with that in it!! Cheers for the food porn comment - my food photography skills are getting there!

  2. Your baklava looks really good...I most definitely a baklava fan but it's a bit lethal for healthy eating! I'd quite happily eat all of this though! :-)

    1. Thanks Laura - I'm surprised by how easy it was!

  3. I love Baklava so much, but unfortunately I see it as a one-time-in-the-year-treat because my family makes Baklava way sweeter than this one. :)

    1. Perhaps you could try this one instead - if it is less sweet you wouldn't feel quite so guilty ;)


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