My brother-in-law’s favourite treat is baklava so I knew I had to make it for him for his birthday. But not just any baklava. Anna Olson’s baklava! She makes hers individually in these adorable cute little phyllo bundles with pistachios and walnuts. I know they look complicated but they are just a little time consuming. The challenge was the…
So this is the first I have used my food processor since Christmas. See it is all covered in dust? How embarrassing.
What is even worse is after cleaning it and then putting in the filling to grind away, I could not get the food processor to work! Later on my brother-in-law got it to work but in the meantime…
Since I did not have a food processor to work with at the time I added to my blender: ½ cup walnut pieces, ½ cup shelled pistachios, 1 tbsp granulated sugar, ½ tsp ground cinnamon and ¼ tsp ground cloves.
I actually did not have ground cloves so I tried to grate my own which was OK but ground cloves is better.
Pulse walnuts and pistachios with sugar, cinnamon and cloves until evenly chopped (but not finely ground). Set aside.
I had a bit of a combo of finely ground and coarse chopped but it worked out fine.
Please note that I had quite a lot of filling leftover and am not sure why so if this happens to you, you are not alone. It won’t go to waste!
Phyllo is your best friend! Turns out you should use it thawed from the freezer quite quickly. Mine dried out at the ends a little because I waited a while but it was fine.
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Melt ¾ cup unsalted butter. Brush a 9-x-13-inch baking pan with some of the melted butter.
Cut all the phyllo pastry sheets in half and stack one half on top of the other. I figured this is what she meant by cut in half?
I put the phyllo on a baking tray and covered with a piece of plastic wrap topped by a damp tea towel to prevent it from drying out.
Lay out a sheet of phyllo pastry and brush it lightly with butter. Top this with second sheet of phyllo and brush lightly with butter.
Using a long-handled wooden spoon, place the spoon handle along the short end of the pastry and roll up the pastry over the spoon (but not too tightly).
Scrunch the phyllo down the spoon to pull it off and also “ruffle” the pastry at the same time. See video.
This technique is why it looks so fancy pants but is really quite easy to do. It is time consuming though.
Shape into a small circle and place it in buttered baking pan. Repeat with the remaining pastry. This recipe makes 15 baklavas.
Brush the tops with any remaining butter.
Place a generous spoonful of filling into centre of each baklava circle and press in as much as you can. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a rich golden brown. While baklava is baking, prepare the syrup.
Bring 1 cup sugar, ½ cup honey, ½ cup water, 1 lemon (cut in half, juice squeezed in and throw lemons in too), ½ tsp ground cinnamon and ½ tsp ground cloves up to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer this for 5 minutes, stirring to make sure the sugar has dissolved.
Remove lemon and keep warm.
Bring It Altogether
Hot from the oven, spoon syrup over baklavas, using a brush to fill in any gaps. OK I was kind of impatient, LOL. I love using my Windsor pot.
Let baklavas cool to room temperature on a rack before enjoying.
Give them time to soak up all that extra syrup.
Anna Olson’s Pistachio Walnut Baklava is little bit of what my mom would have called “a pig” to make but the results are totally worth it! (My mom hated baking.)
These are absolutely delicious and less messy to eat than you think they would be. A total show stopper of a little treat and thoroughly enjoyed by my brother-in-law. Good news too is that they can sit at room temperature lightly covered for days so he could enjoy them for quite a while. Thankfully he was kind enough to share them with us too.
Crispy, sweet, flavourful with that stunning collection of nuts and spices… And that lemon spiced syrup adds so much flavour and cuts through the sweetness. Anna Olson once again takes a classic recipe, makes it her own and takes it to a whole new foodie level.
I give this recipe five out of five wooden spoons.