Five Nut Baklava

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All baklavas are insane(ly good). The nuttiness, the crunchiness, the flaky filo pastry, dripping with butter and syrup. There’s nothing subdued or non-insane or non-amazing about baklava. But this baklava is extra insane because it has FIVE TYPES of nuts and I invented it when I was feeling particularly nutty and inventor-y. Also it has oranges, lemons, cloves and cardamom pods and they’re all spicy and zesty and delicious. Don’t make it if you’re going to be home alone for two days running because you’ll eat it all and feel a little bit shocked by your behaviour (or, if you’re feeling frivolous, do EXACTLY THAT).


Ingredients

1 ¼ cups walnuts

1 ¼ cups cashews

1 ¼ cups blanched almonds

1 cup hazelnuts

¼ cup peanuts (crushed)

375g filo pastry (take out of the freezer to thaw)

¾ cup of olive oil

 

For the syrup

½ cup raw sugar

½ cup water

¾ cup maple syrup

Juice of 3 lemons

Peel and juice of 1 orange

6 cloves (whole)

6 cardamom pods (whole)

 

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Method

Blend all the nuts together in a food processor. Make sure not to over-process them, you want them to be kinda chunky and crunchy.

Make the syrup by placing all the syrup ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly until all the sugar has dissolved, then reduce the heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Take off the heat and set aside to cool.

Find a deep-dish metal baking tray (at least 10cm deep), and line it with baking paper. Gently lay your thawed filo pastry out flat on a bench, place the oven tray on top, and cut around the filo pastry so that it is the same size as the baking dish (this is to ensure that you don’t have extra wide filo sheets that won’t fit in the tray).

Brush the baking paper in the tray with a layer of olive oil, then gently lay the first sheet of filo pastry on top. Brush the top of the filo with olive oil, making sure it is entirely covered with a thin layer of oil, then add another layer of filo on top.

Repeat this until you have 8 layers of filo on top of one another in the tray. Then take half your nut mixture and spread it evenly over the filo pastry. Gently press the nut mixture down into the pan.

Lay another 5 layers of filo on top of the nut layer, making sure to brush each filo sheet with olive oil before laying the next one on top. Then, add the remaining layer of nut mixture, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.

Finally, add another 5 layers of filo pastry (or however much filo you have left – if you have more left feel free to add a few more layers). Brush the top layer of filo with one last thin coat of olive oil, and sprinkle with another pinch of salt.

Stick the whole tray of filo and nuts into the freezer for 10 minutes (this will help you slice through the filo), then remove from the freezer and cut the baklava into portions using diagonal slices (it should look like the photo).

Bake the baklava in the oven at 160˚C for 40-50 minutes, or until the filo has browned and looks crispy. As soon as it’s cooked, remove from the oven and pour your syrup mixture over the whole thing.


Notes:

[1] You’ll need a pastry brush for this recipe. You can buy them at most supermarkets for a few dollars

[2] If you absolutely can’t wait, you can eat your baklava straight away while it’s warm, but it does taste best if you do it the traditional (patient) way and leave it to sit on the bench for 1-2 hours while the nuts marinate in the syrup flavours. The baklava will keep for about 3 days at room temperature.


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