Walnut orange cinnamon Baklava, that has to be on your Christmas cookie tray…
One of the recipes that I wanted to share with you is Baklava. It might not be traditional to serve Baklava for Christmas, but hey we thought we can bring a bit of Mediterranean flair to your table this Christmas.
I first worked on this recipe when I was working in Hong Kong. As part of my project, I was asked to do one middle eastern dessert that could be served on the buffet. Back then I couldn’t have thought of anything better than Baklava. Growing up I loved all kinds of Baklava, with all the different flavors and shapes. The best we used to get were the ones from Damascus.
Last year, I spent a week in Istanbul, and I was on a mission to try as much as I can of any traditional or street food. I have tried the Turkish baklava from the most famous shops and fell in love with it. There is a bit of difference between the Baklava that you get in Turkey and the one you find in the Levant. The Turkish Baklava is a bit heavier and way sweeter.
I have developed this recipe to have winter flavors, for Christmas. So I made it with walnuts, cinnamon, and orange. To be honest, I was skeptical about this and I didn’t know if I should stick to the traditional one but this came out to be super good. I brought the first trial to the office at work and it just disappeared in an eye blink.
Let’s get baking…
Brush your baking tray with a thin layer of ghee. I used a round 24 cm tray, but it will be more efficient if you used a rectangular tray. This recipe calls for an A4 size baking tray. The trays that are usually used are aluminium trays as they are good heat conductors. Also, since you will have to cut the baklava in the tray, the tray will get all scratched. If using a non stick baking sheet, you will lose the protective layer.
Next, you place 10 sheets of phyllo dough, that are cut to the size of your chosen tray. After every 2 layers sprinkle a large tablespoon of icing sugar. This will hold the layers together. Add the nuts mixture, which is made of ground walnuts, cinnamon powder, and orange zest.
Sprinkle the mixture with the remaining icing sugar leaving 4 tablespoons to be used on the upper sheets of the Baklava. Repeat and place the other 10 sheets on top, sprinkling icing sugar between every 2 layers.
With a very sharp knife cut all the way through into small diamond shape. If you used the round baking tray to use the technique, we used to make the baked kibbeh.
Pour the melted ghee on top and bake for 1 hour at 150 °C.
Meanwhile, prepare the 2:1 sugar syrup. For this recipe, I also added the juice of one orange.
Once golden in color, remove from the oven and pour the hot syrup on top. Allow to cool overnight and serve.
- Chopping or grinding the nuts is a personal preference. I personally prefer the baklava with a finer grind.
- The tray should not bee more than 4 -5 cm deep otherwise, it would be hard to remove the Baklava.
- You can do play with the flavors the way you want. The original recipe, has pistachios instead of walnuts and no cinnamon or orange.
Walnut Orange Baklava
- 250 grams phyllo pastry 1 packet with 20 A4 sheets
- 500 grams walnut Ground
- 100 grams icing sugar
- 1 pc orange zest
- 15 grams cinnamon powder
- 300 grams ghee melted
- 300 grams sugar
- 150 grams water
- 1 orange squeezed
- Place all the ingredients in a small pot and bring it a boil. Lower the heat and keep it simmering for a few minutes till the syrup thickens.
- Apply a little bit of ghee on the baking tray.
- Grind the walnuts leaving it a bit coarse.
- Mix the walnuts with cinnamon and the orange zest.
- Cut the phyllo pastry to the same size as the tray.
- Place 10 sheets of phyllo on the tray, 2 at a time. Sprinkle a large spoon of icing sugar after every 2 layers.
- Add the nuts mixture equally around.
- Sprinkle the mixture with the remaining icing sugar leaving 4 tablespoons to be used on the upper sheets of the Baklava.
- Repeat and place the other 10 sheets on top, sprinkling icing sugar between every 2 layers.
- With a very sharp knife cut the dough all the way through into small diamond shape.
- Pour the melted ghee on top and bake for 1 hour at 150 °C.
- Once the baklava is golden in color, remove and pour the hot syrup on top.
- Cool it overnight and serve.