This week Lucy is sharing a recipe for a Greek classic pastry she rather over indulged in whilst on holiday in Corfu.
Well that’s it, my holiday is over again for another year. I love to holiday, but then, briefly, I love to come home. The pre-holiday build up and all it’s manic-ness often leads me to wonder why we go away at all. Only to arrive, feel blissfully relaxed with warm, comforting sunshine on my face and, as my shoulders remove themselves from up around my ears, I realise I love, love, love holidays and actually never want to come home. How I made it to 46 and 50 weeks before visiting Greece seems bizarre, but now, try stopping me from racing back. Corfu is divine, and quite the friendliest place I have come across. We have all bought home some beautiful memories, as well as a rather pretty charm bracelet, the most overriding for us all being huge, sweet slices of Baklava. So much so, we’ve only been back a few days and already I have fashioned this version to share with you today.
I dread to think how many litres of rosé we have imbibed over the last 10 days, that in combination with various souvlaki based skewers, Saganaki cheese and bottles of Mythos beer have led to a super tight waistbands on our return. I do fear the main offender on the weight gain stakes may well be the giant slabs of Baklava we felt compelled to sample at the end of each meal. Each taverna we dined at had their own Baklava offerings. Some with custard, some with tons of nuts, some with less, but our favourite version is pretty much a perfect match with my Baklava recipe I am sharing with you today. Crisp filo pastry, rich nuts all doused lightly in a syrup fragranced with orange and cinnamon. I haven’t had great experiences with shop Baklava in the past, but this recipe, based on one from the completely un-Greek God, Jamie Oliver, with thanks, is a total winner. There’s no sogginess, it’s sweet but you don’t feel although you’re about to lose all your teeth and it has just the correct amount of spice.
We genuinely loved Corfu and are already planning a return trip such was our love of the landscape, wonderful folk serving wonderful food and clear blue sea. Next year, however, I will ensure I pack a few more elasticated waists.
This recipe will be on Lucy Loves later on this week.
You will need a large, approx 9 inch by 13 inch, rectangular, shallow, baking tray and some sort of nut chopping implement
This recipes makes a big tray, around 25 pieces
- 300g caster sugar
- 3 strips orange peel
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 100ml honey
- 300ml water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
- 100g almonds
- 100g pistachios
- 100g walnuts, I used cashews as that was what I had
- 2 teaspoons mixed spice, or the original recipe called for ground cloves and cinnamon, so you could use these
- 2 x 270g packets filo pastry, you will have a couple of sheets spare
- 200g butter, melted
Pre heat your oven to 160 degrees fan assisted and butter your baking tray really well with some of your melted butter.
Take a medium saucepan and add the caster sugar, orange peel and cinnamon stick. Pour in the honey then top up with 300ml water. Bring to the simmer and then turn right down and cook for around 15 minutes or until the syrup has reduced by around a third. Leave to cool completely.
Take your chosen nuts and chop them finely, either in a food processor or chopper. Leave them relatively chunky, you don’t want dust. Stir through the mixed spice and pop to one side for a moment.
Take your filo pastry and remove from the packaging. Place the pastry under a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out and crack. Lay your first layer of filo pastry in the tray and brush generously with your melted butter. Add another 3 layers of pastry, brushing each with melted butter. Tip half the crushed nuts on the fourth layer, then lay on, and brush with butter, another 4 layers of pastry. Add the final layer of nuts followed by another 4 layers of filo brushed with butter. Generously butter the top layer then cut the baklava into squares using a very sharp knife.
Trim any overhanging edges, then bake in your pre heated oven for around 25 to 30 minutes. Keep an eye on the pastry, if it is browning too quickly, turn the oven down to a touch. The Baklava is ready with the pastry is golden and crisp and cooked through.
Once out of the oven, spoon on half of the cooled syrup, drizzling evenly over the top. Leave for 5 minutes then pour on the rest of the syrup.
Leave to cool completely before removing the Baklava squares from the tin. Serve with ice cream and more sprinkled nuts or with a lovely cup of tea or coffee.
Store in an airtight tin for a couple of days.