A classic Lebanese sweet that never disappoints the syrup senses.
- 1 x 375 g packet filo pastry
- 250 g unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups (260 g) finely ground cashews
- ½ quantity thick sugar syrup (see below), hot
- ¼ cup (30 g) coarsely ground pistachio nuts (optional)
Thick syrup (attir)
- 800 g white sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2½ cups (625 ml) water
- 1 tbsp rosewater
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.
To make the syrup, bring the sugar, lemon juice and water to the boil over a medium heat. Cover and boil for 20 minutes, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the syrup is thick. Stir in the rose-water and remove from the heat. Depending on the occasion, use while still hot or allow to cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C. Cut the filo pastry sheets to the size of your baking tin: a good size is 25 cm x 35 cm. Brush the baking tin liberally with melted butter. Layer half the filo pastry sheets into the tin, brushing every second sheet with butter. Spread the cashews evenly over the pastry. Cover with the remaining filo, brushing every second sheet with butter. Do not butter the top layer yet.
With a sharp knife, make parallel cuts on the diagonal, about 3½ cm apart, through to the base of the tin. Then cut on the diagonal the other way, to create diamond shapes. Brush the remaining butter on top.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180°C and bake for another 35 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven. Pour the hot syrup over the hot pastry. Sprinkle with pistachio nuts (if using) and leave to cool.
Recipe and image from The Great Australian Cook by Helen Greenwood & Melissa Leong (Five Mile Press) $49.99 available now.