A classic dessert of crushed nuts, thin filo pastry and honey, in this variation I’ve swapped out half the walnuts for pistachios and spiced it up with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
- 1 cup (140 g) pistachios, finely chopped
- 1 cup (100 g) walnuts, finely chopped
- ¾ cup (100 g) sesame seeds
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra for dusting
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tbsp raw sugar
- 180 g (½ pack or 10 sheets) frozen filo pastry, thawed
- ¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing, plus extra for greasing
- 1½ cups (375 ml) water
- 1 cup (220 g) raw sugar
- zest 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3–4 cloves
- 2 tbsp honey
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.
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 20 x 30 cm lamington tin with olive oil. Combine the pistachios, walnuts, sesame seeds, spices and sugar in a bowl.
2. Spread the thawed filo sheets out on a damp tea towel (this will prevent them from drying out while you work with them). Brush one pastry sheet lightly with the oil, then place another sheet on top and brush that lightly with oil.
3. Sprinkle one-fifth of the nut and seed mixture over the oiled filo, then tightly roll up the pastry from the short side until you have a long cigar shape. Repeat these steps until you have five baklava pastry rolls. Place each roll in the prepared tin, then brush them with olive oil to prevent them from drying out in the oven. Cut each roll into four equal pieces.
4. Bake for 30 minutes until golden – sprinkling a little water over the pastry now and then to stop it from curling and cracking during baking.
5. Meanwhile, make the syrup by bringing the water, sugar, lemon zest and juice, cinnamon stick and cloves to the boil in a small saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the honey and simmer for a further 5 minutes, or until the syrup starts to thicken a little.
6. Once the baklava is cooked, leave it in the tin and pour the syrup all over the hot baklava. Allow to stand for 15 minutes so the syrup soaks in.
7. Serve the baklava hot or cold, dusted with extra cinnamon. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
The Heart Health Guide by Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos, Published by Macmillan, RRP $34.99, Photography by Rob Palmer.