Baklava/baklawa, “tomAto/tomato” – so what? Minor variations of spelling and pronunciation of this popular and widely seen desert pastry. When I say “widely seen” I mean they eat it in like Turkey, Egypt, Maghreb, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Cyprus, Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greece, China, basically lots of places, particularly wherever you like in Central and Southwest Asia they probably indulge in Baklava.
Tending to take the form of layers of phyllo pastry cut into ‘lozenges’ often soaked in syrup with a chopped nut filling baklava is considered to have been developed during the former Ottoman Empire. Many countries claim it as there own creation, well if somethings popular and really good, everyone wants a bit of the pie right?! !) However, it’s not certain exactly where this tasty bite, loved by those with a self confessed sweet tooth, originates from but then, who cares, just eat it!
For this recipe you will need:
- Time, say around 2 hours
- A difficulty capacity of around 2
- 4-6 persons with a sweet tooth to share it with
- 160g/8 sheets of phyllo dough (or very fine flake pastry)
- 350g/13oz shelled and chopped pistachio nuts*
- 100g/4oz butter
For the syrup:
- 150g/6oz sugar
- 1 lemon
- Orange flower oil
1 | Arrange 4 sheets of dough in a buttered baking dish. Melt 70g/3oz butter and brush it over the dough.
2 | Cover the dough with the chopped pistachio nuts and then put the other sheets of dough on top. Brush with melted butter.
3 | Bake at 170˚C/340˚F for 35 minutes, then raise the temperature to 210˚C/410˚F and continue baking for 10 more minutes.
4 | Dissolve the sugar in 2 glasses of water, add the juice of ½ lemon; simmer until the syrup thickens; add 2 tbsp orange flower oil, cook 2 minutes longer and remove from the heat. Let cool.
5 | When the ‘cake’ is done, pour the syrup over it and cut it into bite size lozenges.
The best bit is that since Bellydancing involves lots of intense and focussed muscle contractions the body requires refuelling with a small amount of some simple carbohydrates right after dancing so having a piece of this is not only yummy, is also warranted!
* may contain nuts