Mark Olive adds his signature twist to the classic Levantine sweet, baklava, with the use of macadamia nuts and lemon aspen syrup.
- 750 g macadamia nuts
- 250 g icing sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon myrtle
- 375 g packet filo pastry
- 200 g hot clarified butter
- 600 g honey
- 200 g caster sugar
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) lemon aspen juice, plus extra, for misting (see note)
- 1 tsp unsalted butter
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.
Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Oil a large, deep rectangular baking tray about 20 cm x 30 cm.
1. For the syrup, place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer over low-medium, stirring regularly for 15-20 minutes or until the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, place the macadamia nuts, icing sugar and lemon myrtle in a food processor and blitz until finely chopped.
2. Layer 3 sheets of filo pastry on the bottom of the tray, trimming to fit if necessary. Spread a quarter of the nut mixture on top, then cover with another 3 layers of pastry. Mist with a spray of extra lemon aspen juice. Repeat this process three more times. Using a large sharp knife, cut the baklava into diamond-shapes. Gently pour the hot melted clarified butter evenly over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden.
3. Remove the tray from oven and whilst still hot, pour the cooled syrup evenly over the top. Return to the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and stand for 2 hours or until completely cooled.
Native to far north Queensland, lemon aspen is a pale lemon coloured fruit with an intense citrus amora. The juice has a very strong acid flavour of lemon with a hint of grapefruit. Lemon aspen juice, the sweetened syrup and the dehydrated fruit are available online from native food stores.
Catch Mark Olive in the second season of On Country Kitchen, Wednesdays 7:30 on NITV from 23 October to 18 December, or on SBS On Demand.