Orange Blossom Date and Nut Baklava
This chapter is a free excerpt from What's For Lunch, Honey?.
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Brush a 17 x 28 cm baking tray with some of the butter.
- Spread 8 sheets of filo pastry, one at a time, into the tray, brushing each sheet with butter before adding the next.
- In a clean bowl, mix together the nuts, dates, sugar , and spices, then spread half the mixture over the pastry in the tray.
- Layer 4 more sheets of phyllo, making sure to brush each individual sheet with butter. Spread the remaining half of the nut-date mixture.
- Top with the remaining sheets of phyllo, making sure to brush the top layer with butter as well. Using a sharp knife, cut a criss-cross pattern into the top layers of the pastry.
- Bake the baklava in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, then decrease the temperature to 150ºC (300ºF) and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden on top. Keep an eye on the pastry, making sure the top does not burn. Remove and allow to cool slightly.
- In the meantime make the syrup by heating the sugar, water, orange blossom water and the orange peel in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the sugar has melted and the liquid has reduced to a thick, syrupy consistency. This will take approx. 20 minutes. Allow to cool.
- Pour the syrup into the slits in the baklava and leave to cool completely. Cut into small diamond-shaped pieces and serve.
- Once you have unwrapped the sheets of phyllo be sure to keep under a damp tea-towel until you are ready to use. The sheets dry up extremely quickly and become hard to handle when dry.
- The syrup can be made 3-4 days in advance and stored in the fridge in an airtight container.
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