I feel like I’m losing my voice. Not literally. Just what makes me, well, me.
Or maybe I’ve just let too many outside voices in. If that makes any sense.
I think I just need some stimulating company with some conversation that makes you ponder about..everything.
Life has been so crazy recently, filled with unexpected curveballs poppin’ up outta no where paired with the constant back and forth between the different cities has left me with not much of a routine. No routine means a lot of time wasted for me! Especially if I’ve got some good romance novels nearby!
Today’s recipe is a delicious, delicate Date & Nuts Baklava.
I attempted my first Baklava a couple months back to celebrate Eid- the holiday celebrated after a month of fasting in the Muslim community. It’s a long, fun and festive day filled with friends & family dropping in continuously from dawn, many, many desserts and best of all- the money filled envelopes from family- the best treat of all!
Let’s face it, we all love receiving gifts and many of us enjoy gifting as well. I know I do. Nothing gives me more pleasure then finding the perfect gift for the special people in my life. I’m sure I’ve got this from both my parents, they’ve shown me throughout my childhood and up until today to always give others what you’d like for yourself. Not everyone will enjoy the things you do, but you should always gift with good intentions. Unfortunately there are people who gift only out of obligation and it tends to show in the type of gift you receive.
You just gotta shake it off and do what you gotta do for your own soul.
While you put together this Baklava, you have a lot of time on your hands to contemplate life. It’s a lot like this sugar syrup soaked pastry.
Life is made up of so many different stages. While we’re kids, we can’t wait to grow up and move on to the next stage- to do all those glorious grown-uppy things, be that fabulous put together adult we always imagine ourselves to be.
Then you become an adult and you’re still waiting for that adult gene to kick in and change everything.
I know I
am did. (I still have at least one moment a day when I wish for my mommy!)
It takes a few of those aforementioned curveballs to realise that life is sugar coated- it looks all glitzy and glittery from the outside until you have to start being an adult.
To build a beautiful life, it takes patience and commitment- something we do’t see in the put-together-fashion-forward-perfect-job social media profiles we may admire.
It’s what goes on behind the scenes that’s real.
Like this baklava for instance.
It’s a fun dessert to put together but you gotta make sure you’ve got the free time with no distractions to get it done beautifully. You’ve got to be patient in cutting out the filo sheets, placing them under a damp cloth and making sure not to tear them as they are so delicate.
Baklava is our treat for getting through an entire day of adulting.
- For gifting or a large gathering, you can make it in a 9×13 in cake pan, just double the amount of nuts and date paste & syrup recipes. The filo sheets will be the same amount.
- It’s very, very, very important you keep filo sheets under a damp cloth because they dry out really quickly, within a minute.
- Take out 6 filo sheets, cut them out to fit perfectly into your pan, place them all under a damp cloth. Work with one sheet at a time.
- Don’t brush every 6th filo sheet with butter as this will have the date paste spread over it and the nuts sprinkled. Except for the final sheet, butter that generously.
- If you forget and brush every 6th sheet with butter- it’s totally okay. Just add an extra sheet over the buttered one and then add the date paste & nuts.
- Once all layers are completed, if there are edges that don’t line up then trim the edges.
- You have to pour the syrup over the pastry as soon as it is out of the oven. Keeping it overnight to soak up the syrup will definitely improve the flavor.
I don’t think I’ve enjoyed making anything as much as I did putting together this baklava. It looks like a complicated pastry, but is so incredibly satisfying to put together.
Beautifully golden pastry covered in a cinnamon honey syrup encasing a decadent filling of almonds and hazelnuts and a smooth date spread.
You guys have got to make this!
- 24 sheets filo pastry
- 90 gms unsalted butter melted
- 1/2 cup almonds chopped
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts chopped
- 6 ounces Medjool dates pitted & roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup water
- damp cloths
- pastry/silicon brush
- offset spatula/ butter knife
- straight edged 8x8 cake pan
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 6 tbsps water
- 10 tbsps honey
Begin by making the date spread. Roughly chop the pitted dates and add to the blender. Add 1/4 cup water and blend until smooth. Scrape down sides with spatula.
Place chopped almonds and hazelnuts in grinder and grind to fine crumbs.
Keep a damp cloth nearby. Set aside 6 sheets of filo pastry. The first and last sheet absolutely need to be perfect, with no holes at all as it forms the base and top. Cover filo pastry with damp cloth as it hardens up within seconds.
Place the first sheet of filo pastry. Brush generously with melted butter. Place second sheet of filo pastry, brush with butter. Repeat with another 4 sheets until first 6 sheets are used up. Do not butter the 6th filo sheet.
Spoon 2 tbsp of date paste onto 6th sheet. Using offset spatula/ butter knife, spread to cover the entire 6th sheet. Sprinkle ground almond and hazelnut mixture to cover date paste.
Place filo sheet over the nut mixture, press down gently. Brush generously with butter and add next five sheets, Don't brush the 6th sheet. Add date paste and nut mixture. Repeat another layer of filo pastry (6 sheets)> date & nut mixture> filo pastry (6 sheets).
Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
You will have 4 layers of filo pastry and three layers of date & nuts.
Place the last sheet of filo pastry over previously buttered sheet. Gently press down with your palm, your pinkies on the edges to prevent filling from coming out of the sides. Brush the last sheet of filo pastry generously with butter.
Using a sharp knife. cut straight lines, gently holding the pastry down so that the sheet doesn't tear.
Starting at one edge, cut diagonally to make a diamond or horizontally to make rectangles.
Top each piece with leftover nut mixture.
Pop into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden.
While baklava is baking, in a small saucepan, add the honey, water and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower heat and cook till slightly thick but pourable consistency.
Remove baklava from oven and pour over baklava immediately. You might not use up all the syrup, but make sure the pastry is completely soaked keeping in mind that it will absorb the syrup as it cools down.
Leave to cool at room temperature and serve. You can also keep refrigerated overnight to allow the pastry to soak up the honey syrup. Remove from refrigerator about half an hour before serving.
- Make sure to use a sharp knife to cut baklava into strips otherwise pastry might tear or layer may begin to move apart.
- Always cover the filo pastry with a damp cloth otherwise it will dry out and harden.