For ease and convenience, this recipe uses store-bought filo. For best results, refrigerate the baklava overnight to allow the syrup to soak into the pastry. Store any leftovers in a single layer separated by baking paper, in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 1 month.
At Efendy, Somer uses Turkish or Iranian pistachios and makes the filo pastry from scratch, rolling it so thin that you could read a newspaper through it.
- 550 g (2½ cups) caster sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 200 ml milk
- 50 g fine semolina
- 250 g (1 cup) ghee (clarified butter), melted, plus extra, to grease
- 375 g pack filo pastry
- 300 g shelled unsalted pistachios, very 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.
Drink Hare Turkish coffee cream liqueur.
Place 400 ml water and 500 g sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high, add lemon juice and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes or until syrup has reduced by one-third. Transfer to a heatproof jug and set aside to cool.
Place milk and remaining 50 g sugar in a small pan over medium heat and stir for 1 minute or until sugar dissolves. Scatter with semolina and whisk until combined. Bring mixture to the boil and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Transfer to a small bowl and cover surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Cool.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 30 cm x 20 cm lamington pan with ghee. Cut the entire stack of filo pastry to fit the base of the pan and discard the trimmings.
Working with 3 sheets of filo at a time and keeping the remaining filo covered with a lightly damp tea towel, brush each sheet of filo liberally with melted ghee and layer in pan. Scatter over 1 tsp pistachios. Repeat brushing and layering filo, and scattering over nuts four more times.
Spoon semolina mixture over stacked filo sheets and spread mixture evenly. Scatter over 230 g pistachios.
Still working with 3 sheets of filo pastry at a time, repeat brushing each sheet with ghee and layering in pan, and scattering over 1 tsp pistachios between each stacked layer twice more. Top with remaining sheets of filo (you should have about 10), brushing each sheet with ghee.
Press the top of the baklava lightly to seal layers together. Cut into 42 squares, then drizzle with remaining ghee.
Bake for 40 minutes or until pastry is crisp and golden. Pour over sugar syrup, scatter with remaining pistachios and refrigerate until cold before serving.
As seen in Feast magazine, Issue 8, pg96.
Photography by Alan Benson.