Baklava is an extremely popular treat made throughout the middle east and mediterranean, and there are many different variations of the dessert, depending on the region it’s made in. We decided to do our own variation with honey, and added in a bit of cinnamon and orange zest to boost up the flavour even more.
What you need:
- 2 cups (500 mL) honey
- 1 cup (200 g) Redpath Granulated Sugar
- 1 cup (250 mL) water
- 1 tsp (5 g) ground cinnamon (optional)
- Zest of 1 large orange (optional)
- 1 pkg. phyllo dough*
- 1 1/4 cup (300 mL) melted coconut oil OR vegan margarine
- 2 cups (250 g) pistachios, toasted & chopped
*Frozen phyllo dough is readily available in most groceries stores, and works well with this recipe.
How to prepare:
1. In a medium saucepan, stir together the honey, sugar, and water. Add the cinnamon and orange zest (if using). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and continue to cook the mixture for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Spread the pistachios out on a baking sheet and toast for 6 – 10 minutes, until slightly darkened in colour and fragrant. Leave on the baking sheet until cool enough to handle, then chop roughly. Set aside.
3. Grease a shallow baking pan with coconut oil or margarine (we used a 9×13 inch pan). Line it with a sheet of phyllo pastry, then brush with melted coconut oil. You might find you’ll need to fold the phyllo sheet in half to fit it into the pan – don’t worry, this will make your baklava that much crispier and flaky. Repeat with 2 more sheets of phyllo pastry.
4. Spread 1/2 cup (55 g) of chopped pistachios evenly over the top of the phyllo pastry. Drizzle with the prepared syrup. Be generous with it, but make sure to reserve at least 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the syrup to drizzle over the baked baklava.
5. Continue to layer the phyllo pastry, using 3 sheets for each layer, brushing each one with melted coconut oil, before topping with pistachios and syrup. Repeat this process until all the nuts have been used.
6. Once you’ve used up all the pistachios, top the baklava with all of the remaining sheets of phyllo, making sure to brush each layer with melted coconut oil, including the top.
7. Press the dough firmly against the edges of the pan. Use a sharp knife to cut the unbaked baklava into squares or diamond shapes. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F (175°C), then raise the temperature to 400°F (205°C) and bake for another 10 minutes, until the top is golden brown and crispy.
8. Remove the baked baklava from the oven and pour the remaining syrup over the top. Let the baklava cool completely completely. Slice all the way through the previous cuts and serve. Store any leftovers in a sealed container at room temperature for 3 – 4 days.