During our five-day stay in Istanbul, we made the journey to Karakoy Gulluoglu, a baklava parlour. As we navigated our way there, we resisted the urge to pull up a chair at any one of the countless baklava shops in the same area for the promise of the best baklava with kaymak (rich Turkish buffalo clotted cream) in town.
Looking around, we realised that here baklava wasn't a pastry to have to go. It was to be devoured with friends over warm, golden-hued tea and conservation that lasted for hours. So we decided to order one of each type. As I sat on the high stool with my plate filled with walnut, almond, orange, chocolate and pistachio varieties, and rich clotted cream, I remembered our hotel owner's words of wisdom before we set out for the day: dollop some cream into your spoon, prick into the centre of the baklava and then spoon it all into your mouth.
The buttery, silky cream melts away, cutting the richness of the baklava. In the end, we were too stuffed to finish all of it but none of the clotted cream remained. This recipe is inspired by the baklava we savoured that day.
- 5 filo pastry sheets
- 50 g unsalted butter, melted
- 40 g chopped pistachios or 20 g each almonds and pistachios, finely chopped, plus extra, to garnish
- 1½ tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp water
- a few drops of orange blossom water or rose water
- 20 g unsalted butter
- 50 g shelled pistachios
- 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar
- ¼ cup milk
- 250 ml (1 cup) thickened cream
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.
Cooling time 10 minutes
Freezing time 10 hours
For the ice-cream, melt the butter in a frying pan over low heat. Add the pistachios and lightly toast for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Cool slightly.
Place the pistachios, sugar and milk in a food processor and process until a paste.
Using an electric mixer, whisk the cream until stiff peaks. Gently fold in the pistachio paste. Pour the ice-cream mixture into a 23 cm square, 4 cm-deep container and freeze for 10 hours or until frozen.
Meanwhile, for the baklava, prepare the filo by defrosting it in the fridge overnight. Keep a damp cloth handy to place over filo sheets while making the baklava to prevent the filo drying out.
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a 23 cm x 15 cm baking pan. Place a filo sheet on a clean work surface. Brush with butter, top with another filo sheet, then brush with the butter.
Repeat the process until 4 layers are formed. Sprinkle the top with the chopped nuts and spread with your fingers.
On another work surface, butter the remaining filo sheet. Place, buttered-side down, on the top of the nuts. Brush the top with butter.
Cut the stack into 6 x 7.5 cm squares and place in the pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden on top. Thin the honey with the water and orange blossom water, then drizzle over the filo. Let it cool.
To assemble, remove the ice-cream from the freezer and cut into 7.5 cm squares. Remove the baklava squares from the pan. Place each ice cream square on top of one baklava, then top, nut-side down, with another baklava.
Garnish with the extra pistachios and serve immediately.
Recipe from Journey Kitchen by Kulsum Kunwa, with photographs by Kulsum Kunwa.
Read our Blog Appétit interview with Kulsum Kunwa and view more recipes by her.