Cooking and Baking Together

Concertina baklava recipe by Melek Erdal

There’s a correct method to eat a baklava: you have to place the entire portion in your mouth in a single go and flip it the other way up in order that the dense sticky backside hits the roof of your mouth. Ideally you’d additionally sip a powerful tea, the color of “rabbit’s blood” as they are saying in Turkey. With a dessert so beloved throughout the Center East, you see, the act of consuming is sort of as a lot of an artwork because the act of constructing.

Autumn is a time for reflection, and making baklava requires a bit devotion, time to pause and replicate. I went on a quest to make the simplest (however tastiest) baklava, and requested consultants from aunties to baklava masters for his or her knowledge. That is the outcome – the concertina baklava, the place the layers are aspect by aspect, fairly than stacked vertically; or as Auntie Zekiye calls it, “The lazy spouse’s baklava.” I’m no spouse and I’m actually not lazy, however I really like one thing that’s virtually magic in the best way it comes collectively so effortlessly. It’s wealthy and indulgent, and when you want justification to eat it, which you don’t within the east, contemplate it an act of sustenance for the approaching chilly months.

Serves many

sugar 300g

water 350ml

cinnamon stick 1

cardamom pods 2

lemon zest of ½

lemon juice 2 tsp

butter 250g

walnuts 250g

floor cinnamon 1 tbsp

filo pastry 250g (10 sheets)

floor pistachio 50g, to garnish

Put together the syrup first, as you want this to chill utterly to room temperature earlier than you pour it on high of the new baklava. This can guarantee it absolutely absorbs and stays crispy.

For the syrup, mix the sugar and water and slowly convey to a simmer whereas stirring, making certain the sugar is absolutely dissolved. Add the entire spices, lemon zest and juice. Simmer for quarter-hour and put aside.

Subsequent, make clear the butter by putting in a saucepan on a medium warmth. As soon as melted, convey it to a gradual effervescent simmer. The milk solids will begin to separate from the fats. Preserve skimming the froth on the high because it rises. You will notice the butter begin to flip translucent and you’ll start to see the milk solids on the backside. Upon getting cleared the butter of all of the froth, take off the warmth and drain via a metallic sieve lined with kitchen paper. The entire course of ought to take now not than 10 minutes.

Blitz the nuts in a blender to a rough combine concerning the measurement of couscous. Combine this with the bottom cinnamon.

Now you have got your entire parts prepared, you may convey your baklava collectively.

Preheat the oven to 180C fan/fuel mark 6. Brush the underside of an oblong baking tray along with your clarified butter.

Place one sheet of filo on a flat floor with the shortest aspect nearest to you. Sprinkle one heaped handful of the nuts everywhere in the sheet. Now pinch the sides of the sheet along with your thumb and first two fingers, and pinch by pinch, bunch the entire sheet collectively like a concertina.

Holding the ends of the sheet, choose it up and place it alongside the brief fringe of your tray (conserving your tray at panorama/horizontal).

Repeat the method and place the bunched sheets collectively in your tray aspect by aspect. You’ll be able to pack fairly a couple of in – I often match a complete of 9-10 sheets.

Brush the highest of the ready filo generously with the clarified butter, making certain it’s all coated and the butter is absorbed.

Place the baklava within the oven for quarter-hour or till golden. The separate concertinas of filo will fuse collectively to create the bigger rectangular baklava. Take away from the oven and ladle the syrup excessive instantly. You must hear a satisfying sizzle, of the chilly syrup making contact with the new baklava. Pour between 3-4 ladles over it. Don’t fear when you’ve got syrup left over – you may freeze this for an additional time.

Garnish the highest with shiny inexperienced pistachios.

Melek Erdal is a meals author and an everyday visitor on Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cupboard