Fig Baklava

 

Fig Baklava

I learned to make this by accident - I just wanted to see if it really was better when made fresh at home, it is!

 

Fig syrup:

 

About 10 figs, sliced

1 cup Demerara sugar

 

½ cup white sugar

Pinch of saffron threads

Vanilla pod – split down the middle, seeds scraped out

 

¼  teaspoon cinnamon

¼  teaspoon ground cloves

¼  teaspoon nutmeg

¼  teaspoon very finely chopped fresh rosemary, just a few leaves

Rose water to taste (at least a few tablespoons)

1 cup sweet white wine

Juice & zest of 2 oranges

1 cup honey

5 whole cloves

For the filling:

2 cups of chopped cashews

2 cups of chopped almonds

2 cups chopped walnuts

1 cup chopped pistachios

½ cup chopped pinenuts

1 egg, beaten (optional)

1 packet filo pastry

250g melted butter combined with 1 cup canola oil or similar light tasting oil.

 

Pre-heat oven to 220°C

 

To make the syrup:

Add all ingredients except the rose water and figs to a large pan and bring to a gentle boil until it thickens slightly.  Add rosewater and figs and reduce the temperature, allow to simmer for 10 minutes, or until the syrup is glossy pink.  Remove cloves.

Remove the figs and set aside.  Keep the syrup warm while the baklava is cooking.

 

Assembling the Baklava

 

Note: The mix should provide for 4 generous layers, with about 3-4 sheets of well buttered filo between each layer of nut mix.

 

Dice a few of the figs very finely and add to nut mix, (mix in beaten egg – this is optional but gives the baklava more stability if you are nervous about it being too loose!)

Mix together well, adding a little extra rose water, orange zest and rosemary if desired.  Pour 1/3 of the syrup over the nut mixture so it is just coated, not wet.

 

In a slice pan, add a base layer of filo pastry – brushing between each sheet with melted butter mix.  Ensure there are at least 4 sheets of filo on the base of the pan before adding nut mixture.  Build the layers up until there is no nut mix left, top off with several well buttered sheets of filo on the top layer.  Cut diamonds into baklava with a sharp knife, diagonally across the pan.

 

Cover the top of the baklava with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake for about another 20 -30 mins on 180°C or until very golden brown.

 

As soon as the baklava is ready, remove from the oven and pour the remaining syrup over the top.   Place a few of the glazed figs on top and some chopped pistachios. (Very good for Christmas  - green and red, very pretty!)  Allow to stand until fully cooled before eating.

 

Baklava will keep for at least a week due to the high sugar content – longer in the fridge.