Most of the foreign food on this blog involves recipes that are in fact, very simple and not time consuming. That is one of the reasons why I created this website, to show you, wherever you may be, that foreign food doesn’t have to be daunting to attempt in your own kitchen. Most are quick to whip up or require little effort, I’m looking at you Cherry Clafoutis and Pavlova in that category.
A few have been time consuming, but those finicky ones, where you need to have read the recipe three times to know exactly what you are doing are usually the ones where you sit back and go “wow, I made that!?”. Baklava is definitely like that. In fact, I could barely believe my eyes when peeking into the oven, just on turning the temperature down and seeing golden rectangles of baklava sitting in my own kitchen.
That is the beauty of food, when you mix ingredients together and give something new a go the result I’ve found is usually a reward of something tasty, a pat on the back in the form of “yum” all around that it’s a little addictive. If I could spend my days just making food for people and traveling to new destinations in search of new food than life would be quite content.
One of the most beautiful things of food is that it’s a combining force of people, we all need to eat and most love to so recently I’ve been packing up and giving away tasters of food I’ve made to people I know will enjoy it (one is a kiwi guy who I feel the need to feed often). The highest priority on my list to give a taster to was my friend Jane who originates from Lebanon, she knows Baklava well; her reaction to these morsels was “that was so amazing.” A breath of relief was sighed, yes, these are really worth the effort.
Tell me what’s the best foreign dish you’ve ever made? I’d love to hear in the comments of your experiences.
Adapted from Turkish Cookbook
Makes 35 baklava
1 cup water
1 1/4 cup superfine/caster sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
450g phyllo pastry
250g butter, melted
1 1/2 pistachios, roughly chopped/ground
6 tablespoons heavy cream
Place the water and sugar in a pot on high heat and boil for 5 minutes, lower the temperature to medium and continue simmering for a further 15 minutes.
Pour into a bowl at room temperature and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375.
Lay the phyllo sheets on the bench and slice in half to double the layers, set the top half of the phyllo sheets aside as these will be the top layer, and if necessary, cut to shape for the baking dish.
Brush the baking dish with a little melted butter then lay two phyllo sheets down and brush with melted butter, lay another two sheets and continue in the same manner until all the bottom sheets have been laid in the dish.
Brush with the cream and than add the pistachios, spreading out evenly.
Next lay two sheets of phyllo down and brush with melted butter in the same fashion as the base layers, brushing the last of the butter on the top of the pastry. Cut squares into the pastry to the point where your knife hits the pistachios (this will ensure the top layer of pastry rises).
Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, turn down the oven to 160ºC/325F and bake for a further 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes and then proceed to carefully cut through the bottom of the pastry, this will take effort.
Once you have cut all the baklava, take the slightly warm syrup and drizzle over the cut gaps in the baklava. Allow to sit for 4 hours to soak and cool.
Serve one or two with a little some chopped pistachios on top.