A little birdie told me it was National Baklava Day yesterday. Why do I feel like every single day is “national (insert food) day.” I guess it gives us all an excuse to indulge no matter what day of the week it is. Living in the Dubai we are spoilt for choice as many bakeries around town have perfected this age-old pastry. It’s truly a labor of love as meticulous detail and care is required for all those nutty layers of phyllo and honey. While I wish I had that much time to dedicate to one dessert in the kitchen I have transformed the traditional dessert into a much easier to execute tart. I use a variety of nuts from pistachio to brazil nuts and add in a little unsweetened desiccated coconut & dark brown sugar which results in a gooey caramelized consistency. I also make a homemade vanilla bean syrup instead of the typically used honey. It’s just a little fun twist on the original.
¼ cup pistachios
½ cup brazil nuts
1/3 cup almonds
¼ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
2 tbs flour
¼ tsp fleur de sel
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
85 grams unsalted melted butter + 60 grams unsalted melted butter for brushing
8 sheets of defrosted phyllo dough cut into 9inch x 12inch rectangle sheets
for the vanilla syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
¼ tsp pure vanilla bean paste
Preheat the oven to 177C/350F. Combine the nuts, coconut, flour, fleur de sel, cinnamon & dark brown sugar in a food processor until it comes together into a coarse meal. Put into a bowl and add in 85 grams of melted butter, mix well.
Start layering the phyllo sheets into a 7 inch round pan (the sheets will hang over the edge of the pan). Brush each layer with the melted butter as you build your base. Once you have layered all 8 sheets, fill the shell with the nut mixture. Fold and roll the ends of the phyllo dough inwards till it forms a rustic loose crust. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
Meanwhile prepare the vanilla syrup by heating the sugar, water and vanilla bean paste in a saucepan on medium high heat. Let it come to a boil and once the sugar is fully dissolved move off the heat and set aside.
Drizzle the vanilla syrup over the baklava tart before serving.
This recipe is also featured on Savoir Flair: http://www.savoirflair.com/culture/105140/baklava-recipe