I always thought preparing baklava from scratch was not my cup of tea. The complex and lengthy procedure used to bring shivers through my spine. Right from rolling light penetrating filo sheet, stacking them in a sophisticated manner, spreading dry fruits mixture in between, baking and finally the glaze. Any great baker would be petrified by this seemingly never ending course of action. But trust me; the pride and joy of baking it yourself is out of the world. I started considering myself no less than a noble laureate after my very first attempt.
This recipe would take 2-3 hours, but it is worth every drop of sweat. Sweet fruits (baklava) are assured after long working hours, dying to be enjoyed with chilled vanilla ice-cream or just the cinnamon sugar syrup is enough to do the magic.
Yield: Almost 20 medium sized filo pastry sheets (60 bit sized baklava pieces)
- 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour + extra while rolling filo sheets
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup warm milk (warm water)
- 4 tablespoons oil (melted butter) + extra for spreading between the filo pastry layers
- 1 teaspoon vinegar (white or any cider vinegar would work)
- 1 cup crushed dry fruit mix (pistachios, almonds, walnuts)
- 1 cup water
- 4 tablespoons honey (sugar)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a baking pan and keep aside.
- Take a large mixing bowl, add flour and salt to it and give it a quick stir.
- Add warm milk, oil and vinegar to it. Mix until everything comes together.
- Dust some flour on a working surface and put dough onto it.
- Keep kneading the dough until soft and smooth dough is obtained.
- Cut the dough into approximately 20 equal sized balls.
- Dust surface with flour and start rolling out the filo pastry sheets as thin as possible. Hold the sheet in front of light and when you are able to clearly see through it, sheet is ready. Roll out all sheets similarly and keep then well covered so that no crust is formed onto them.
- When you are done rolling out all the sheets take the greased pan and place a sheet in it. The sheet has to be placed evenly without any wrinkles. Brush the sheet with generous amount of oil or melted butter. Repeat the procedure for 5 sheets. Do not spread oil on the fifth sheet. Spread it with ¼ of the crushed dry fruit mix. Repeat this procedure with the other 3 sets of 5 filo pastry sheets each.
- Spread the uppermost sheet with butter and cut into desired shapes with a knife.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 min at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) or until surface turn golden brown.
- Meanwhile put water and honey (or sugar) in a small saucepan and heat it until honey starts to caramelize. Add cinnamon to the mixture and let it caramelize further. When the mixture become thick and reduces in almost half of its quantity, turn off the heat and allow mixture to cool down.
- When the baklava is out of the oven, instantly pour the cooled syrup onto hot baklava and enjoy the sizzling sound and aroma of cinnamon.
- Enjoy the baklava when hot, or let it stand for almost 2-3 hours until all the sugar syrup is soaked into the crunchy and flaky layers.
- The more you knead the dough, flakier will be the baklava layers.
- The thinner your roll the dough, crunchier will be the layers.
- While baking take the baking tray out after 10 min and cut the baklava pieces again, as it will get difficult to separate them after they are baked.