I grew up eating and loving my mother's delicious Greek style walnut baklava. We loved it so much that we used to make it all the time until one day my mother just decided that she just couldn't be bothered hand chopping all those nuts any more and she hung up her pastry brush and never made it again. I still have such fond memories of baklava though!
Baklava to me always means walnuts, which is a big surprise to most of the people I meet because most of the time the only baklava Aussies eat is pistachio baklava bought from the local kebab shop. I have to confess - until I was about 16 I didn't even know that pistachio baklava existed. But when I was 16 I got a great Lebanese boyfriend who introduced me to pistachio baklava. I admit we had several good hearted arguments about which baklava was better!
Even though I generally prefer pistachios over walnuts, to me, walnut baklava has always had my heart! So when I found out that they eat walnut baklava in Bosnia my heart swelled with the idea of making it again!I bought piles of walnuts and steeled myself for a long time chopping, because one thing I have learnt from making baklava in the past is that you MUST chop the nuts very finely, don't be slack and leave them chunky because your baklava will fall to pieces when you try to serve it up! So I started to chop all my walnuts and then I realised that since I used to make baklava with my mother food processors had been invented! So much quicker!
What's your favourite type of baklava?
25 sheets filo pastry, thawed if frozen (should be about 1 box)
5 cups walnuts, ground coarsely
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3 cups sugar
2 cups water
Non dairy butter or margarine for brushing, melted
1. Lay the filo pastry out ready to use and cover with a damp tea towel (not too damp though!).
2. Mix the ground walnuts and nutmeg together.
3. Brush the bottom of a large baking dish with melted butter and lay a sheet of filo over it. Fold in the edges so that it fits the dish. Brush the top with more melted butter. Repeat, doing 8-10 layers of filo.
4. Spread half of the walnut mix on the top of the pastry.
5. Cover the walnuts with another 5-6 layers of pastry and butter.
6. Spread the remaining walnuts over the top of that.
7. Layer another 8-10 layers of filo pastry over the top, neatening any edges as you go so that it doesn't spill over the top.
8. Brush the top with plenty of melted butter. Cut the top diagonally into diamond shaped slices, cutting just through the top layers of pastry. Like this:
9. Bake in a moderate oven for 40 minutes, or until golden brown on the top.
10. While it is baking you can prepare the syrup. Put the water and sugar in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring frequently, until all the sugar is dissolved.
11. When the baklava is cooked remove from the oven. Whilst the syrup and the baklava are still hot pour the syrup over the top, covering evenly. Allow to cool.
12. Chill in the fridge over night (or for at least 3-4 hours).
Makes about 30 pieces of baklava.
Check out our other Bosnian recipes: