The next recipe in our #streetsfoodchallenge trip is Easy Turkish Baklava (vegan)!
Pâtisserie is a word associated with the kitchens of France, where bakers make the richest dough, glossiest ganache and silkiest creams before combining them into all sorts of incredible delicacies. But there is something so pretty, so flavourful and so loved from Turkey that it has won the hearts and minds of sweet-toothed people all over the world. It is, of course, baklava – a simple combination of filo pastry, nuts and sugar that comes in an incredible array of shapes and sizes.
The origins of this dessert are hazy, to say the least – a good handful of nations lay claim to the baklava we know today as far out as central Asia. However, it’s generally accepted that the first form of baklava came from the Assyrian empire, around 800 BC, where layers of bread dough were stretched thinly and baked with chopped nuts and honey for special occasions. As trade grew, the Ancient Greeks developed a fondness for the Assyrian delicacy and it is believed they were the ones who developed an incredibly thin dough called phyllo (leaf), which made the layers lighter and more delicate. In turn, the spice and silk routes started to influence the ingredients, with rosewater, cardamom and cinnamon becoming commonplace.
While it’s tough to confirm these influences, it’s clear that the baklava we know and love today is thanks to the Ottoman Empire from the fifteenth century onwards. This vast empire encompassed many countries, which is why the exact origin of baklava is hard to pinpoint – each nation probably influenced or changed its recipe as they were conquered by the Ottomans. The recipe was perfected in the Topkapi Palace kitchens in seventeenth-century Istanbul and quickly became a favorite of the ruling Sultan, who would give the pastries out to his soldiers on the fifteenth day of Ramadan in what became known as ‘The Baklava Parade’ – a show of strength as well as a way to show appreciation for the army.
The Turkish take
Baklava of some form is made in many countries today, but it’s Turkey that’s most famous for producing the delicacy. Great wide sheets of pastry are stretched so thin they become transparent, before being buttered and layered on top of one another. Pistachios from Gaziantep, Aegean almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts from the Black Sea Region are used as filling, and sugar syrup rather than honey is poured over after the initial bake.
Gaziantep is the spiritual home of baklava – particularly those made with pistachios – so much so that Gaziantep Baklavası was awarded PGI protection by the EU in 2013. Whole teams of bakers will roll out the sheets, layer them with the region’s bright green nuts, cut them into diamonds, pour over melted butter then place them in the oven before dousing them with syrup and leaving to cool. Because the nuts are so vividly covered, they’re often ground down to powder to be sprinkled over the top of the baklava, which makes them look all the more tempting.*source
Let's jump straight to the recipe!
Prep: 15 min
Cook time: 55 min
Servings: 24 servings
Calories per serving: 227 kcal
Find the recipe & nutrition facts below :
1 3/4 cup walnuts (200 gr.)
1/3 cup hazelnuts (50 gr.)
1 1/3 cup pecan (155 gr.)
1 pack filo pastry (400 gr.)
1 cup oil (or coconut butter) (200 gr.)
For the syrup:
1 1/3 cup water (300 ml)
1 1/4 cup sugar (300 gr.)
2 pieces of lemon
Step 1: Preheat oven to 180 C.
Step 2: On a baking tray place walnuts, hazelnuts and pecans and roast them in the oven for 10 minutes. In the food processor chop nuts into small chunks.
Step 3: On the deep baking tray place 2 layers of baking paper and start making your baklava by placing 2 sheets of filo pastry and brushing them with around 3 tbsps of oil, sprinkle evenly some nut mix on top. Repeat with the remaining filo, oil, and nuts. (do not sprinkle with nuts on the last top sheet, just evenly cover it with oil.
Step 5: Cut the baklava into desirable pieces. It is super easy to make with a pizza cutter if you have one.
Step 6: Bake for 50-55 minutes.
Step 7: For the last 10 minutes of your baking, prepare the sugar syrup by placing water, sugar, and lemons into a cooking pan and cooking it on high heat for 10 minutes. (do not turn off the heat if your baklava is still in the oven.)
Step 8: At the moment your baklava is baked, remove it from the oven and pour on top of it with the hottest possible sugar syrup.
Step 9: Let it chill and soak up the syrup for 2-3 hours and decorate with some crushed nuts on top.