I first fell in love with baklava at Borough market after paying an inordinate amount of money for a box of the good stuff. It was love at first bite – sweet, sickly, crunchy exterior with a soft inside. Nutty and floral with the honey syrup sticking to your fingers. Let’s just give ourselves a moment with that image. Annnnnd we’re back in the room.
O.K so I love the stuff. But I can’t face shelling out an undisclosed amount of money (you will judge me otherwise) for a box of it. I’ll be bankrupt before the year is out. So I did what any totally insane person with too much spare time on their hands would do – I smashed up two baklava recipes to make my own perfect hybrid. And behold the citrus and pistachio baklava rolls were born.
My favourite thing about baklava is the balance of the nutty interior offset against floral and citrus notes. The sweetest is an added benefit but for a self confessed savory person, it can be too much sometimes. So in this recipe I upped the nuttage and toned down the sweetest by swapping the usual sugar syrup for a citrus juice based dipping sauce. These little rolls have rocked my world.
I can’t wait to try some more flavour combinations in the future. Maybe the traditional route of honey and walnut? Or something unorthodox like dark chocolate and cinnamon with a rum based syrup? Either way, I don’t see my love of baklava ending anytime soon. Especially not with these around.
Ingredients – makes 12 individual rolls. Inspired by two recipes in the Persiana cookbook
100 grams ground almonds
100 grams pistachios, blitzed to a mixture of fine powder and larger chunks
125 grams golden caster sugar
1 tablespoon of orange blossom water
1 Orange, zest and juice
2 Limes, zest and juice of one lime
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of cardamom seeds, finely ground
100 grams of unsalted butter, melted and lightly cooled
1 packet of filo pastry
Icing sugar for dusting
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put on ‘GTFA’ by Hackney Colliery Band.
2. Mix the ground almonds, pistachios, sugar, orange blossom water, zest of the orange and lime, ground cinnamon and ground cardamom together in a bowl. Add 50 grams of the melted butter to the bowl and mix till it forms a paste.
3. Divide the mixture into 12 pieces and roll into thin sausages. Set aside. Cut each of the sheets of filo pasty down the middle (usually down the seam) to make two large rectangles.
4. Take one of your sheets of filo pastry and lay one of the sausages at the top of the shortest edge in the middle. Roll down the sheet, tucking in the edges as you go, until you get to 1 cm from the bottom. Brush some of the melted butter along the bottom of the pastry and then finish rolling.
5. Place the baklava roll on the baking sheet and repeat for the remaining pieces of almond paste. Brush the rolls with the remaining butter, ensuring you cover them all well, and place in the over for 20-25 minutes until golden and crisp.
6. While the baklava cooks make the dipping sauce. Place the orange juice, lime juice and 1 tablespoon of water in a small pan and bubble rapidly to create a thick syrup. Once the mixture has thickened slightly take off the heat and leave to cool.
7. Once the baklava is cooked leave to cool before removing from the baking sheet. Place the baklava on a serving plate and dust with icing sugar. Serve with the dipping sauce along side.