Baqlawa. Everyone claims they do it best, but who knows? I’ve actually had this post done and dusted and sitting in my drafts since September 2012 – a whole entire year ago! Wow I thought I’d share it today because I’m head under stacks of study, assignments and midsem exams…. And well, it’s a near-finished post that just needed a few minutes to touch up and share. (And also because I’ve recently been craving baqlawa a lot! This craving was curbed with a friend’s kind offer to share some of the baqlawa she made recently ).
Baqlawa generally is super easy to make. It’s almost a repetitive process of ‘lay the fillo, brush with butter’! In this recipe, I use 2 packets of fillo pastry and I cut the sheets to size. I use the left over fillo to make cute fillo cups and fill them with spinach and ricotta or fetta If you have a rectangular tray that fits your fillo sheets perfect, go ahead and use that and cut the baqlawa into bite-sized squares.
There’s generally a beautiful pattern we follow to cut the diamonds out of round trays as this one (which I’ve tried to really simply/make clear with the pictures below!) Perhaps if you try it on a rectangular/square tray and share with us how it worked out, that’d be great! Remember if it doesn’t work out for you, the baqlawa will still taste amazing regardless!
2 packets Fillo Pastry (375g per pack)
3 cups cashews (I mixed cashews and walnuts for a nutty flavour when doing this – feel free to try pistachios – YUM!)
1 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1/8 tsp citric acid or juice of half a lemon
1 tsp rose water (or vanilla essence)
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius (170 fan forced).
Lightly grease a deep 32cm diametre baking tray and set aside.
Pulse the cashews in a food processor until finely chopped.
Remove fillo pastry from one pack, and place on a bench.
Place the tray on top of the pastry, and run a sharp knife along the edges of the pastry to cut to size (if necessary).
Place 2-3 sheets of cut fillo pastry into the base of the dish and brush with butter (put down one sheet at a time for a richer flavour).
Repeat with the remaining cut fillo pastry.
Spread the cashew mixture over the base.
Remove the fillo pastry from the second pack, and cut to size.
Repeat brushing with butter between the sheets for all the fillo pastry.
Use a sharp knife to cut diagonal bite-sized pieces (see diagram below; comment for extra help).
Place the tray in the oven and leave for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, for the syrup, add the sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Add the rosewater and citric acid and stir to combine.
Reduce to a gentle boil and leave undisturbed for five minutes.
Pour this syrup mixture into a milk mug and set aside to cool completely.
When the baqlawa is ready, remove from the oven and immediately pour on cooled syrup. Leave the baqlawa to cool.
Serve with vanilla ice cream or tea.