Baklava is the dessert that, really, has it all. Syrupy, nutty, sticky, fragrant, delicate, flaky. It hangs around on your tastebuds and in your teeth for hours after, reminding you that you ate baklava and that you want more.
While we know it’s fun to eat, it’s also great fun to make – if you can give it a little time, patience and practice.
The folks at Köy in South Melbourne share their recipe with us, which is a little more pimped-out than your basic baklava. “It’s really spiced up with an infused syrup full of herbs and spices, such as cardamom and cloves,” says owner Taylan Aksoy. “It’s crunchy, aromatic and sweet.”
It’s so sweet, in fact, that Aksoy recommends having it with anything that cuts through it a little. “Vanilla ice cream or fruits work well,” he says.
When it comes to the method, Aksoy recommends just taking your time. “Layering is important because everything must be evenly placed. Be gentle when brushing the filo and try your best not to split it.”
It’s a perfect way to spend a frozen Melbourne day indoors – so clear your schedule and prepare to get elbow-deep in filo.
Köy’s Aromatic-Spiced Walnut and Pistachio Baklava
(By Köy’s Head Chef Alex Meimetis)
For the syrup:
600g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla essence
2 slices of lemon
2 good-quality saffron threads
1 cardamom pod
For the baklava:
3 x 375g packets filo pastry (1125g)
800g ground walnuts
800g ground pistachio
1kg unsalted butter
For the syrup:
Place all ingredients into a pot and bring to boil. Let it boil for 7 minutes. Take the syrup off the heat and strain. Allow it to cool completely.
(Note: the syrup must be cooled before making the baklava).
For the baklava:
Preheat the oven to 150°C. Lightly grease a rectangular tray (big enough to fit the layers of filo) with the melted butter. If you do not have a tray to suit the filo shape, trim the edges of the filo to suit the tray. The tray should be at least 10cm deep.
Lightly brush 15 layers of filo with melted butter and stack on top of one another in the buttered tray. (Place an un-buttered layer down, then butter. Repeat until you’ve made 15 layers). This will create the base layer.
Top the layers of filo with a layer of walnuts (approximately 1cm thick, however this can be altered according to personal preference).
Lightly butter and stack another 10 layers of filo on top of the walnut layer (employ the same technique used to create the base layer). This will create the middle layer.
Top the new layers of filo with a layer of pistachio nuts (approximately 1cm thick, or to taste).
Lightly butter and stack another 15 layers of filo on top of the pistachio layer (employ the same technique used to create the base and middle layer). This will form the top layer.
Carefully cut the baklava into individual portions with a sharp knife, trying not to tear the filo. (Do not separate the portions; keep in a slab-like format.)
Bake in the oven for approx. 40 minutes at 150°C. Then, turn up the oven temperature to 180°C and bake for another 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.
Take the baklava out of the oven and immediately pour the cold syrup over the baklava portions while still hot (keep in the tray). Pour the syrup evenly.
Allow the baklava to absorb the syrup (for approximately one hour).
Serve with ice cream or fruit (something creamy or tart). To serve, Köy uses pişmaniye (Turkish fairy floss) and vanilla ice cream.
(Note: do not keep baklava in the fridge because the syrup will harden. The baklava can last up to 10 days at room temperature).
116-136 Cecil Street, South Melbourne
(03) 9696 9640