Best-Ever Baklava

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Baklava – a dessert served in many countries around the world, all with their own personal touch.  This is a very rich sweet, and therefore not one you will indulge in frequently.  I make this once a year – maybe twice, at most.  It’s not a weight-loss dessert, it’s not a totally healthful dessert – it is an uplifting, and very flavoursome dessert, to enjoy and lift the spirits.  Having tasted the different takes of this from several countries, I have created my own vegan version, spiced up with cinnamon, lemon and other wonderful ingredients. I have tried not to over tamper with it in terms of its original and traditional taste.  For this reason, I have not chosen to sweeten it with date syrup, as this would then no longer be a baklava, but rather something richer and fruitier, and would steal the show from the fine and delicate taste of the filo layers, the lemon, and the spices – these all need to demonstrate their own little dance on your buds. I have also not over-burdened it with too much filo – just enough to know it’s there. Enjoy !

TIP : DO NOT be tempted to eat this warm – it must be fully chilled to appreciate all the taste and flavours – the main reason being that the syrup needs quite a bit of time to soak itself into the nuts between the baklava layers.  Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in your refrigerator.

Serves 12 medium portions

FILLING INGREDIENTS

1 cup of raw pistachio nuts

1 cup roasted pecan nuts

½  cup mixed roasted nuts of your choice

a pinch of salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp clove powder

½ cup brown sugar (I used molasses), or other dried sweetener of your choice

the zest of a lemon (optional)

FILLING METHOD

  1. Process the roasted nuts and the raw pistachios in a food processor until medium to small in size, not crushed into a powder.
  2. Then transfer the nuts into a large bowl, together with the other ingredients, and set aside.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE PASTRY

400 g (14 oz) filo/phyllo pastry – I used 1½ packs Jus-Rol, which is vegan (this gave me 9 sheets, which I cut into 2 pieces, so in total I had 18 pieces)

1 cup melted vegan butter/margarine, or melted coconut oil if you prefer

(You will also need a pastry brush, for brushing on the melted butter/marge)

METHOD

  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF (180ºC), and grease an oven-proof dish approximately 9 x 9 inches.
  2. Now carefully take one filo sheet, cut it in half and place it at the base of the dish – brush your melted vegan butter on top, then add the next filo half, and brush on melted butter in the same way.  Now repeat this process, until you have 6 layers of filo at the bottom of your dish.
  3. Next, add half the filling mixture, and gently even it out on top of the pastry, taking  care not to disturb the filo too much, as it’s quite fragile.
  4. Now repeat step 2, so that you now have the next 6 pieces on top of your aromatic nut filling, leaving 6 pieces to use on the top. At this point, using a sharp knife or skewer, gently pierce a dozen holes or so through the pastry (this will enable the syrup to seep through, when you pour it over the top later on after baking).
  5. Now add the rest of the filling (although you may wish to leave a spoonful for garnishing, once it’s baked).
  6. Then repeat step 2 to finish off, always greasing each slice of filo in between each and every layer – don’t pierce holes through this top layer.
  7. Now cut your unbaked baklava into either 9 or 12 portions (3 x 3, or 3 x 4), using a very sharp knife, and cutting very slowly as you do it.  Wipe the knife with a clean wet cloth after each cut, so that you don’t mess up the top layer with the filling.
  8. Finally, just before baking, lightly sprinkle the top of the pastry with cold water. This will prevent the pastry from curling or over-hardening.
  9. Place in your preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, just until slightly golden – don’t overcook this, as it won’t work well if it’s too crispy.  Now, at this point, go and make your syrup (see below).
  10. Remove from the oven, and gently cut around the edges of the pastry with a very sharp knife, to create the little space needed for the syrup to seep through.
  11. Now immediately pour on the syrup, evenly distributing it all over the top.  Then allow to cool for a couple of hours out of the fridge, before placing it in the fridge for at least a further 4 hours.
  12. Serve and enjoy !

SYRUP INGREDIENTS

1 cup (250 mL) maple syrup, or other liquid sweetener of your choice (eg agave syrup)  -don’t be shocked by the quantity !

1½  cups (375 mL) water

1 cinnamon stick

¼ tsp crushed cardamom pods (optional)

3 Tbsp (90 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ tsp neroli (orange blossom) or rose water

SYRUP METHOD

  1. Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan, and heat up gently until the mixture slightly thickens. This may take a few minutes – do not allow it to burn.

All recipes and content © Miriam Sorrell mouthwateringvegan.com 2010

These are free recipes for your pleasure – all we ask in return is that you take a few moments to leave us a constructive comment !

suitable for vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike

28 Responses to “Best-Ever Baklava”

  1. Mirian de Meneses Costa Says:

    This looks so wonderful! I can barely wait to prepare it on Monday (today I have to go to town…)

  2. Miriam Says:

    Go-for-it Mirian. Let me know how it goes on Monday as and when then. I look forward to your feedback. Enjoy your trip to town ! Best wishes your way !

  3. Lynn Nicholson Says:

    Your recipes look, and taste, fantastic, if you would like to send in some recipes I can include them in our magazine with links back to you. Please contact me at cblmedia@gmail.com and take a look at the magazine, I think you will really like it! xx

  4. Vegan News @ KitaVeg.com » Best-Ever Baklava – Mouthwatering Vegan Recipes™ Says:

    […] the rest here:  Best-Ever Baklava – Mouthwatering Vegan Recipes™ Tags: […]

  5. Miriam Says:

    Thanks for the pingback ! Kitaveg !

  6. Miriam Says:

    Hi Lynn and many thanks for dropping by here. I am delighted that you like my recipes ! I am more than happy to submit some recipes (pics & links), but are you able to send me some basic information in the meantime ? Here is my e-mail address jonsorrl@onvol.net Also what type of readership do you have ? I have written for the press locally and am currently awaiting the publication of my forthcoming book Mouthwatering Vegan – Random House will be publishing it, and it’s due to be available next spring. Very best wishes your way and look forward to hearing from you.

  7. Cygal Says:

    Looks delicious!!
    I am going to give it a try.
    Thx for the recipe.

  8. Miriam Says:

    Cygal Hi there and welcome here. I hope you enjoy it – let me know how it goes as and when ! Best wishes your way in the meantime !

  9. Phil :) Says:

    Hi Miriam, without a doubt I will be making this within the week, I can almost taste it now and the anticipation really is making my mouth water!
    I will be back here to leave some feedback and thanks for this,
    Phil.

  10. Angel Says:

    This looks so yummy. We’ll make it this week & let you know. I’d be interested to hear what other nuts other people chose to ad & they worked out. I’m thinking that 1 1/2 cups of nuts could make the flavour vary greatly..but still be delish :)

  11. Brett Cummins Says:

    Well, I made this yesterday, and I can only describe it as totally awesome. I used pistachios, pecans, walnuts and peanuts, and made sure the syrup thoroughly soaked through the pastry (good tip to spike holes in the middle layer) – and, as I had friends over yesterday evening, I was enormously distraught to see that we devoured the whole dish in one sitting. Truly, I had hoped for some leftovers for yours truly today. But, it’s in the recipe bank now, and I will be making it again very soon . . this time without such generosity of spirit ! As ever, a big Thank You to you Mouthwatering Vegan !!

  12. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Brett and many thanks indeed for dropping by here with your comment and feedback – I am delighted that you have made and devoured my Baklava together with your guests/friends. I think your choice of nuts was a very good one. Best wishes your way and I very much look forward to your future comments on my blog !

  13. Miriam Says:

    Angel Hi there and welcome here. It appears we have just received a comment from Brett Cummins who made and devoured this Baklava – see his comment for his choice of nuts if you wish ! Best wishes your way in the meantime, and I look forward to your future comments on my blog !

  14. Miriam Says:

    Phil Hi there and thanks for dropping by here. I will appreciate your feedback on this Phil and hope you enjoy it !! Very best your way as always !

  15. Dee Says:

    I absolutely adore pistachios and pecan nuts are my second favourite. My dream food to try. Thanks Miriam. I am forever looking for creative recipes to experiment.

  16. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Dee and welcome here – hope you make and enjoy my Baklava ! Tried to browse your site, but page won’t open. Best wishes to you !

  17. Debra Orlowski Says:

    Miriam, I made these this morning and just tried them and they were amazing. I used pistachios, pecans and walnuts. I make you recipes often, but always when I am cooking for carnivores. The more skeptical they are, the harder they fall for vegan. I can’t thank you enough for figuring it all out for the rest of us to eat a compassionate diet.

  18. Miriam Says:

    Debra Hi there and welcome here. I am delighted that you have popped by here with your wonderful feedback and comment. I am even more happy that you prepare my dishes for your non-vegan friends, how wonderful to know of this across the sea as it were. I very much look forward to your future comments on my blog Debra, and best wishes go your way in the meantime !

  19. Karin Says:

    I just put my first attempt into the oven. I used walnuts, pistachios and pecans. Can’t wait how it turns out! I’m making the baklava for my non-vegan parents.
    Thank you Miriam for sharing your recipes. They are really inspirational to me. :)
    Best wishes and until next time,
    Karin

  20. Miriam Says:

    Karin Hi there and welcome here. I am delighted you have attempted my Baklava – do let me know how it goes as and when ! Best wishes your way in the meantime. :)

  21. Karin Says:

    It turned out great Miriam! It was a big hit with my guests. :D

  22. Miriam Says:

    That’s awesome news dear Karin ! I look forward to your future comments on my blog ! Best your way !

  23. Osquee Says:

    I love this webpage. even though baklava is originally turkish. just kidding :-)

  24. Miriam Says:

    Osquee thanks for dropping by with your comment, and hope you enjoy it at some point too ! :)

  25. Claudia Says:

    Tried your Bolognese Madness wow that is delicious !!!! My Dad knows a Greek Miriam who makes the only baklava I like, I dont suppose you could give me the original Greek recipe to try ? I am not a vegan (although getting there) and eat local honey to treat my hay-fever (immunotherapy) Thank you

  26. Miriam Says:

    Claudia Hi, so glad you made and enjoyed my Bolognese Madness ! This is the Baklava that I make, sometimes I only use pistacchios and other times I make it a little shallower, but I make it the same.

  27. Claudia Says:

    Oh should i replace the 1 cup melted vegan butter/margarine, or melted coconut oil if you prefer with honey ?

  28. Miriam Says:

    Sorry, I don’t understand Claudia dear, you cannot replace the ‘fat’ with honey, or any other sweetener for that matter.

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