I've interpreted the traditional flavours and components of baklava in a modern way. Here crisp cinnamon-sugared filo shards are served with cashew nut ice-cream and toasted sesame marshmallow.
Cashew nut ice-cream
- 250 g toasted cashew nuts
- 250 ml full-cream milk
- 250 ml pouring cream
- ¼ vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 150 g white sugar
- 120 g egg yolks (from 6 eggs)
Toasted sesame marshmallow
- 40 g toasted sesame seeds
- 1 pinch ground cinnamon
- 50 ml water
- 60 g caster sugar
- 30 g liquid glucose
- 1½ leaves titanium-strength gelatine
- 70 g eggwhites (from 2 eggs)
- 20 g caster sugar
- 10 g ground cinnamon
- 5 sheets filo pastry
- 50 g unsalted butter, melted
Goats cheese mousse
- 100 ml milk
- 50 g honey
- 6 ml orange blossom water
- ½ leaf titanium-strength gelatine
- 100 g goat’s curd
- 50 ml thickened cream, whipped to hard peaks
- 30 g honey
- 10 ml orange blossom water
- 20 g pistachio kernels, finely chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time: 45 minutes
Churning time: 45 minutes
For the ice-cream, pulse the cashews in a blender until roughly chopped.
Place the milk, cream, vanilla pod and seeds, and half of the sugar into a saucepan over medium-low heat and warm through until the sugar has dissolved.
Place the remaining sugar and egg yolks in large bowl and whisk until pale yellow.
Pour the warm milk mixture, bit by bit, into the egg yolk mixture, while whisking continuously.
Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring consistently with a wooden spoon, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, 73–78ºC. Sieve the mixture into a bowl, add the cashews to the mixture and chill in the fridge or in an ice bath until cool (or ideally overnight).
When cool, churn the mixture in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
For the marshmallow, increase the oven to 170ºC and line a lamington tin with baking paper on the base and sides.
Toast the sesame in the oven until golden, about 12 minutes. Combine the sesame with the cinnamon and set aside.
Combine the water, sugar and glucose in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring to the boil, then continue cooking until it reaches 120ºC on a sugar thermometer.
Soak the gelatine in cold water until a pliable texture, then drain and squeeze out the water from the gelatine.
Once the syrup has reached 120ºC, whisk in the gelatine, then remove from the heat but keep warm.
Once the sugar syrup has reached 118ºC, begin whisking the eggwhites in the bowl of an electric mixer using a hand-held beater on medium speed until medium peaks form (you will need to use a hand-held beater to begin with as the amount of eggwhites is too small to use the beater attachment on the stand mixer).
Once the eggs have reached medium peaks, begin using the beaters on the stand mixers. Gradually pour in the hot sugar syrup, while whisking, and continue whisking until the meringue is thick, fluffy, doubled in volume and cool to the touch.
Add in the cinnamon and sesame mixture and whisk for a couple of seconds to combine.
Pour into the lined tray, spreading to 1 cm thick using a palette knife or spatula and refrigerate until set (about 1 hour).
When ready to serve, cut into 4 cm squares.
For the filo crisp, preheat the oven to 145ºC.
Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Place one sheet of filo on a baking tray, then brush with some of the melted butter and sprinkle over half of the cinnamon sugar. Repeat layering the remaining sheets, brushing with butter, and finish with a brush of butter and sprinkle over the remaining cinnamon sugar. Press them down well to make sure they are stuck together, weight down with another tray and chill in fridge for 15 minutes to set the butter.
Cut 5 long strips, 5-6 cm wide, then cut each strip into triangles, about 6-7 cm.
Arrange the triangles on the baking tray, top with the other tray and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown – the tray will stop the pastry from puffing up and being too flaky.
Remove from the oven, drain any excess butter and cool on wire racks. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
For the goat cheese mousse, place the milk, honey and orange blossom in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium-high heat. While it is coming to the boil, soak the gelatine in cold water until a pliable texture, then drain and squeeze out the water from the gelatine.
Once the milk has boiled, take it off the heat, whisk in the gelatine and leave to cool to blood temperature.
Fold in the goat’s curd, then the whipped cream, starting with a just a little of the whipped cream to loosen up the mixture, then fold in the rest. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1 cm plain nozzle. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until set.
For the honey glaze, combine the ingredients in a bowl and set aside until ready to serve.
To serve, place 2 marshmallow squares on each serving plate, spaced 7 cm apart. Using a kitchen blowtorch, scorch the marshmallows until lightly toasted. Place a scoop of ice-cream between the marshmallows. Arrange 4 filo shards on each plate. Pipe 4 small dots of the mousse around the plate. Drizzle with the honey glaze and scatter over the pistachios.
Photography, styling and food preparation by China Squirrel.
Roy Ner is a the head chef at Nour. This recipe is from The Chefs' Line - a brand new series airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Can the passion of a home cook beat the skills of a professional chef? Missed all the action? Catch-up online and get all the recipes #TheChefsLine.
This recipe has been edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the series.