WALNUT & COFFEE BAKLAVA
I discovered baklava when I first visited Istanbul years ago, and spotted the amazing trays filled with rays of varying shapes of golden pastry through the bakery windows. As soon as I had a bite, I was hooked. Filled with nuts, with layers of buttery filo and soaked in an aromatic syrup, baklava is so moreish, and to my delight not hard to recreate at home. In this version, I have used walnuts and flavoured the sugar syrup with coffee, which pairs wonderfully well with the nuts and balances out the sweetness of baklava.
500g Filo Pastry Sheets, about 14 sheets
250g Butter, melted
1 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon
FOR THE COFFEE SYRUP
5 Tsp Instant Coffee Powder
300g Caster Sugar
THE COFFEE SYRUP
- To make the syrup, place the sugar, instant coffee powder, and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved for about 5 minutes. Bring to a boil, and skim off any white froth that forms on the surface. Continue to cook whilst stirring for a further 3 minutes, then set aside to cool.
- Place your walnuts on a large chopping board and chop the walnuts until they are roughly the size of small lentils.
- Place the chopped walnuts in a large bowl, add the cinnamon and mix together well.
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C/160˚C fan.
- Brush the bottom of the baking tray you are using with melted butter. I used a rectangular tray of
- Take your filo sheets and place them in a damp tea towel to prevent them from drying. Take a sheet of filo and cut it to fit the size of the baking tray you’re using. Place one filo sheet at the bottom. Brush it with melted butter on the top side, without overdoing it.TIP – If your filo rips during the process do not worry, simply continue and add other filo sheets over.
- Carefully cover with another sheet, cut to fit your tray, brush the top with melted butter, making sure there are not big bubbles in between the sheets, and repeat this process until you have 5 tight sheets of buttered filo layered on top of each other.
- Sprinkle the layered filo with half of your walnut mixture, spreading it evenly, and pushing it down, using your hand or the bottom of a glass, so that it is really tight. Then, cover with 4 more layers of filo, buttered every time.
- Now, add the remaining walnut mixture on top, pressing it down, and cover with another 5 layers of buttered filo.TIP – If your butter begins to harden, don’t hesitate to melt it back a little more.
- Using a sharp knife, carefully cut into 3cm wide strips all the way down, by roughly 5cm long rectangles. You can use a ruler for this, aiming to be fairly quick to prevent the baklava from drying, or alternatively, start cutting it in relatively equal strips starting from the middle of the tray. You can also cut them diagonally for a diamond shape like I did if preferred. Butter the top again, especially around the cuts to make sure it is not dry.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown.
- As soon as the baklava comes out of the oven, pour over the cool coffee syrup all over. Sprinkle each of the walnut and coffee baklava pieces with ground walnuts and place parchment paper and a tea towel over the top. Leave it to cool and absorb the syrup for a few hours, or ideally overnight. Kept in an airtight container they should keep for up to 5 days.