Ever since I started working at Mezzet, a Lebanese restaurant, I’ve been so desperate to make my own baklava! They serve it as a dessert there and it’s so sweet and decadent that I couldn’t wait to try them. Every single Christmas eve, my mum invites family friends and neighbours round for drinks, and I thought that these would be a really good treat to serve as little bits of finger food, as everyone usually comes after they’ve finished their dinner, so they’re probably craving something sweet.
I only tried one, as I have to hold off and save them for Christmas eve, but the one I had was so yummy! They’re the perfect little yummy snack as they’re brilliantly sweet and sticky – it’s like eating sweets as a child… I had a big smile on my face the entire time I was making these!
By the way, a huge tip would be to buy shelled pistachios… These took me about an hour and a half to prepare because I spent so long getting the nuts out of their shells! Stupid Emily…
For the baklava
18 sheets ready-made filo pastry (unwrap and keep under a damp tea-towel until you are ready to use)
225g of vegan margarine, plus extra for greasing
225g of mixed pistachios and walnuts, roughly chopped
Two tablespoons of granulated sugar
One teaspoon of ground cardamom
For the syrup
350g of granulated sugar
300ml of water
One tablespoon of lemon juice
Two tablespoons of orange blossom water
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and grease a small baking tray with margarine.
- Melt the remaining margarine in a saucepan over low heat.
- Lay 10 sheets of filo pastry, one at a time, into the tray, brushing each sheet with margarine before adding the next. In a clean bowl, mix together the nuts, sugar and cardamom and spread the mixture over the pastry in the tray. Layer up the remaining sheets on top of the nut mixture, brushing each sheet with margarine, as before.
- Using a sharp knife, cut a criss-cross pattern into the top layers of the pastry.
- Place baklava in the preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes, then decrease the oven temperature to 150 degrees Celsius and cook for an additional half hour to 40 minutes, or until the pastry is slightly puffed and golden on top. Do not allow the top to burn. Remove and allow to cool slightly.
- For the syrup, heat the sugar, water, lemon juice and orange blossom water in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the sugar has melted and a syrup is formed. (This will take about 20 minutes or so.)
- Pour the syrup into the slits in the baklava and leave to cool. Cut into small diamond-shaped pieces and serve
Serves around 25