Apple, Walnut & Pecan Baklava

  • Time: 2 hours
  • Serves: 8
  • Level: easy

‘…Dad’s baklava-come-strudel sounds good – can’t wait to try a piece. It looks like a fancy apple pie, I especially like the idea of all that maple syrup poured over the top!’

Leo Williamson
'Dad's done a bake in recognition of 'The Great British Bake Off' final...'

What you need

For the pastry

270g pack of ready-made filo pastry

100g butter

For the filling

2 large or 3 small Bramley cooking apples

1 large unwaxed orange – juice and zest

100g walnuts pieces

50g pecans pieces

75g currants

75g soft white breadcrumbs

1 tsp cinnamon

50g caster sugar

 

For the syrup

125ml maple syrup

 



Dad's Recipe Tales

Who likes baklava?

It turns out baklava is not everybody’s cup of tea…

Is it the dry coarse texture of chopped nuts? The intense sweetness? Or maybe it’s the simplicity of syrup or honey? Perhaps we are just too familiar with our richly-flavoured gateaux or fruit and cream-based pastries.

In a local setting, baklava makes perfect sense. I remember a very hot and arduous journey to Corfu. I arrived, overheated and exhausted and headed for the nearest shop seeking relief. It was a Greek patisserie selling baklava and not much else. I bought one.

I was not unfamiliar with baklava, but eating one in 30C heat made me realise how well suited these pastries are to hot climates: they provide a non-cloying, restorative package of sugar and nuts. It might be that they are best eaten under a Mediterranean sun with a Turkish coffee.

However, my version is very British – best eaten in the shelter of a dining room with a big pot of tea.

 

How Dad Cooked It

 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C Gas 4.
  2. Line the bottom of a 24cm x 24cm shallow baking tin with greaseproof paper.
  3. On a gentle heat, melt the butter in a small pan. There may be more than required, but it makes things easier having a good-sized puddle. Solidify any left over and re-use.
  4. Peel, thinly slice and roughly chop the apples – there should be approximately 300g prepared apple.
  5. Put the apples in a bowl,  add the other ingredients and mix well.
  6. Using a pastry brush, butter the paper on the bottom of the baking tin with melted butter.
  7. Take a single sheet of pastry and lay it across the tin with equal overlaps either side. Tuck the pastry into the tin so it lies flat on the bottom. Using the pastry brush, butter the filo pastry on the bottom of the tin. Repeat this using another sheet of pastry going across the tin the opposite way to the first pastry sheet.
  8. Spoon and level a layer of the filling into the bottom of the tin. Take another sheet of pastry and place one half over the filling. Butter the top of the pastry, then lay the other half back over the top and butter again. Spoon another layer over the pastry and repeat this process until there is one sheet of pastry left and the filling has been evenly distributed between the layers.
  9. Tuck the overlapping pastry into the tin, buttering each piece. Finally, add the last sheet of pastry as before, buttering half, folding over and buttering again.
  10. With a sharp knife cut through the top of the pastry using perpendicular lines. The baklava will appear to be cut into squares.
  11. Put into the oven for 25 minutes. Lower the heat to 130C Gas 2 and bake for a further 45 minutes. Take out of the oven.
  12. Heat the maple syrup in a pan. While the baklava is still hot, pour they syrup evenly over the baklava and into the cuts.
  13. When the baklava is cool – place greaseproof paper over the top and using large plates or thin chopping boards, turn the baklava over and peel away the bottom layer of paper. Turn the baklava over again onto a serving dish.
  14. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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