Nobody really knows the history of baklava, but apparently its current most famous form was developed in the kitchens of the palace of the Ottoman sultans. It’s a tasty sweet dessert and there are a ton of variations to how to make it. We think our version follows mostly the Iranian tradition of baklava, although omits almonds in the filling and ours are square-shaped. For a quick overview of the regional variations, see Wikipedia.
Recipe from Soheila Kimberly’s Cooking Around The World. Middle Eastern.
5 dl sugar
3 dl water
2 tbsp rose water
350 g ground pistachios
3 dl icing sugar
1 tbsp ground cardamom
150 g margarine, melted
450 g (1 package) filo pastry
Make the syrup first: Mix sugar and water in a saucepan, bring to boil and simmer about 10 minutes. The syrup will get thicker when it cools down, so don’t simmer too long. Stir in rose water and allow to cool.
Grind the pistachios. Mix them with icing sugar and cardamom. Brush a rectangular baking tin with a little melted margarine. Take first filo sheet and put it in the tin and brush with margarine. Put another filo sheet on it, brush with margarine and continue until you’ve used 1/3 of the filo pastry. Sprinkle half of the pistachio mixture on it. Take another filo sheet, put it on the nut mixture, brush with margarine and continue until you’ve used another 1/3 of the filo package. Sprinkle the remaining pistachios on them. Top with remaining 1/3 of filo pastry, brushing with margarine between layers.
Use a sharp knife to cut the pastry to squares or whatever shapes you prefer. If you have margarine left, pour it on top. Bake 20 minutes in 160 Celsius degrees. Then increase the heat to 200 Celsius degrees and bake 15 minutes more or until the colour is nice and golden.
Remove from the oven and drizzle about 3/4 of the syrup over the pastry. Serve with the remaining syrup.