There you go, the recipe in English. Can you guess what it is about? :)) Of course, you are a smart human being. Now, that you know, I must tell you that this recipe is not mine, it is as old “as time” and very popular around the world. I knew about it before I cooked it. But, when I decided to try it, I said I would find the one I am comfortable doing it. In the Practical Encyclopedia of Easteuropean Cooking, 1999, there it was. My mum had a recipe, I had neighbours who did it, friends and so on. But it happened that I wanted to do it later, when I was abroad and I am content with what I found. This is mine, in a way. And now I want to share it with you. You probably say, why? Aren’t there enough already? And I say: why not? :))
- 175 g/ 6 oz/, 3/4 cup butter, melted (remember, go with 80-82% fat)
- 400 g/ 14 oz packet filo pastry, thawed if frozen
- 30 ml/ 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 60 ml/ 4 tbsp lemon
- 50 g/ 2 oz, 1/4 cup caster sugar (or any sugar you have in the kitchen)
- finely grated rind of 1 lemon
- 10 ml/ 2 tsp cinnamon
- 200 g/ 7 oz, 1 3/4 cups blanched almonds, chopped (replace almonds with nuts if you don’t have them)
- 200 g/ 7 oz, 1 3/4 cups walnuts, chopped
- 75 g/ 3 oz/ 3/4 pistachios or hazelnuts, chopped (again, replace with more nuts :))
- chopped pistachios, to decorate (or go nuts :)) )
- 350 g / 12 oz/ 1 3/4 cups caster sugar
- 115 g/ 4 oz/ 1/2 cup clear honey
- 600 ml/ 1 pint/ 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 strips of thinly pared lemon rind
- Preheat the oven to 160 °C, 325 °F, Gas Mark 3. Brush the base of a shallow 30×20 cm/ 12×8 in loose-bottomed or Swiss roll tin with a little of the melted butter.
- Using the tin as a guide cut the sheets of filo pastry with a sharp knife to fit the tin exactly. In case you don’t have a similar tin, or you want to use all the pastry, remember that you have to add more ingredients. Do your maths.
- Place one sheet of pastry in the base of the tin, brush with a little melted butter, then repeat until you have used half of the pastry sheets. Set the remaining pastry aside and cover with a clean dish towel
- To make the filling, place the lemon juice, honey and sugar in a pan and heat gently until dissolved. Stir in the lemon rind (half of it), cinnamon and chopped nuts. Mix thoroughly.
- Spread half the filling over pastry, cover with 3 layers of the filo pastry and butter then spread the remaining filling over the pastry.
- Finish by using up the remaining sheets of the pastry and butter on top and brush the top of the pastry liberally with butter.
- Using a sharp knife, carefully mark the pastry into squares, almost cutting through the filling. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until crisp and golden brown.
- Meanwhile, make the syrup. Place the caster sugar, honey, water and lemon rind in a pan and stir over a low heat until the sugar and honey have dissolved. Bring to the boil, then boil for a further 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened slightly.
- Take the syrup off the heat and leave to cool slightly. Remove the baklava from the oven. Remove and discard the lemon rind from the syrup then pour over the pastry. Leave to soak for 6 hours or overnight. Cut into squares and serve, decorated with chopped pistachios.
Tip (for the lazy ones, myself included): use baking paper in the tin and brush it with melted butter. This way, you will have a cleaner and easier to wash tin.