WHITE CHOCOLATE BAKLAVA WITH A STRAWBERRY TWIST
And so I have a confession. I nearly didn't post this recipe as I massive flopped on the technique resulting in some not so perfect looking Baklava... BUT then I remembered my promise to you readers. I will always let you know of my escapades, warts and all. Although these little darlings don't look like your normal highly refined magazine article photo grade offering, the Shack twist on the traditional Greek recipe with the addition of white chocolate and strawberry essence in the syrup is one for the win.
Plus, as I always say. Life is about progress not perfection.
And so I beg of you... if you do happen to give this recipe a go using the correct technique - please do send some photos and I will post them on the website and send you a T shirt for your troubles!
For the pastry base
- 40 ish sheets of filo pastry About 3 or 4 packs of Just roll of fine filo pastry in the chiller aisle
- 500 g pistachios see notes
- 250 g butter melted
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 bar white chocolate or 1 pack of white chocolate chips
For the syrup
- 200 g sugar
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 185 ml water
- 2 tsp strawberry essence
For the Baklava base
Take the filo pastry from the fridge and allow it to rest for 30 minutes before taking it out of the packaging. While you're waiting you can start preparing...
Preheat the oven to 160C.
DON'T FAIL NO 1: Unless you want to be like me with an extremely pissed off missus I would recommend buying kernel pistachios. Needless to say that Mrs S was not happy at spending a good half an hour to 40 minutes de-shelling a 500g bag of pistachios with me.
Place your nuts into a processor with the cinnamon and pulse until coarsely ground, being careful not to pulse too much that they ground down into a powder.
DON'T FAIL NO 2: Cut the filo pastry to the size of your baking dish before constructing. Failure to do this and you will have to cut off cooked and browned flaky pastry which has hung over the edges afterwards which tends to fly all over the kitchen with a very pissed off missus flying round with the hand held vacuum.
Brush a baking tray with butter and add 8 - 10 filo sheets layered on top of each other, basting each one with butter in between layers.
Add a third of the pistachios evenly and then add 5 more filo sheets, basting each one with butter as you layer them.
Add the second third of the pistachios evenly and then add 5 more filo sheets, basting each one with butter as you layer them.
Add the final third of the pistachios evenly and a layer of finely chopped white chocolate. Add 8 to 10 top layers of filo basting with butter in between each layer.
DON'T FAIL NO 3: Cut the Baklava now into squares or diamond shapes BEFORE putting into the oven. If you forget to do this as ahem, I did it is CONSIDERABLY harder to cut once baked!
Bake in the oven for an hour and fifteen minutes.
To make the strawberry syrup
Place the syrup ingredients into a saucepan and heat over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool completely as the Baklava cooks in the oven.
Once the Baklava has finished cooking evenly pour the syrup over and watch as it disappears through pastry and begins to soak in.
Allow to set for at least 6 hours or even overnight before serving and enjoy this lovey twist on a Greek classic.
For the traditional Greek recipe there are variations made with just one nut – normally walnuts, pistachios or almonds or a mix of walnuts and pistachios. Go wild with your favourite flavours!