Cheats "Pull Apart" Baklava
Updated: Apr 1
I love making this baklava for dinner parties as I can prepare it the day ahead; trust me it tastes even better on the second day once the syrup has had a chance to soak into the nuts and pastry. This recipe was born out of an immense desire to make baklava, but not being bothered to do it the traditional way; as I find it to be a lot of work, plus we can never get through that much baklava.
This version is a lot lighter than a traditional baklava as its made with fewer layers of pastry and butter. I also opted for coconut sugar in the honey syrup mix as its lower GI and a slightly better for you option. The addition of citrus in the syrup balances it all up deliciously and makes it dangerously easy to eat.
1/2 cup pistachios (Can also use walnuts, cashews, almonds or any desirec mixture)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 packet filo pastry
For the syrup
1/2 cup coconut sugar (or normal sugar is fine too)
1/2 cup mild honey
1 cup water
You will also need;
Round baking tin (or square, it doesn’t really matter)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius 350 Fahrenheit
Prepare the syrup
Note* Prepare the syrup before you make the pastry as you need to allow time for it to cool. Make sure you pour room temperature syrup over the hot baklava, not the other way around.
In a small pot add the sugar, honey, water, zest of the one lemon, zest of one orange and juice of 1/2 a lemon and 1/2 an orange.
Place on the stove on medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a gentle boil. Turn stove down and let simmer for about 10 minutes; stir regularly, scraping down the sides of the pot to make sure it doesn’t crystallise. The syrup should reduce and thicken. You don’t want it to thicken too much as it will continue to do so as it cools. Take off heat and cool to room temperature.
Cut the role of filo pastry in half (cross ways). Place half back in the freezer to use for next time and leave half out to defrost.
Roughly crush or chop nuts, place in a bowl and mix in 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.
Unroll the filo pastry and cut in half again to make square-ish shape sheets.
Note* You want to work quickly with the pastry to make sure it doesn't dry out. To stop it from drying out. cover it with a sheet of plastic (the one the pastry is wrapped in when you buy it) and then a damp cloth or paper towel on top.
Melt the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds
Lightly grease the baking tin with butter
Grab 1 square sheet of pastry and brush with melted butter (don’t be stingy but also don’t drown it). Layer second sheet of pastry and brush with melted butter, layer third sheet of pastry and brush with melted butter.
Pinch sides of the pastry in together to create concertina like folds. Bring the ends around to fold into each other, creating little bundles or rose like shapes. Place in baking tray
Repeat above steps until you have filled the baking tray with one layer of these little free form pastry circles.
Sprinkle 2/3 of the nut mix over the pastry. Make sure you get it in all the little crevices.
With the remaining pastry, repeat the previous steps but this time with only 2 sheets of pastry layered on top of each other.. Get creative here as you layer on another level of pastry. I like to tear or cut the pastry into thick ribbons and do swirly shapes until I have covered the whole bottom layer. It also depends on how much pastry I have left and what I need to do to make sure the bottom layer is covered.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until light gold in colour. Oven temperatures do vary, so keep an eye on it and gauge readiness by its colour.
Remove from oven and sprinkle over remaining nut mix. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes or until deep gold in colour.
Remove from oven and slowly pour the cooled syrup over the entire baklava, making sure it gets into all the nooks and crannies. Let cool…
Tear apart pieces and enjoy on its own or served with vanilla ice cream, because everything is better with ice cream!
Best served the following day when the syrup has had a chance to soak in to the nut mixture.