Pistachio Baklava from ‘The Sugar Hit!’

This week, we’re spotlighting recipes from The Sugar Hit! Sweets That Pack a Punch! by Sarah Coates (Hardie Grant), the writer behind the award-winning blog The Sugar Hit! Try making the recipes at home and let us know what you think!

Photograph by Chris Middleton

By Sarah Coates

Makes 25 pieces

You know the song that tiny guy sings at the start of Aladdin, ‘Arabian Niiiiiiiiights’? That’s what plays in my head whenever I make, eat or think about this pistachio baklava – not only because baklava is eaten across the Middle East and into the Mediterranean, but because a lot of the world’s pistachio nuts are grown there. Now, pistachio nuts aren’t cheap, I know that. That’s why this is a small batch, as opposed to a hulking tray of baklava – but you can easily sub in another nut for half the pistachio nuts, or even all of them if you need to. I love to use pistachio nuts, though, because they’re so beautiful and the taste is so distinctive. There is a real sense of luxuriousness and decadence to these treats, particularly with their aromatic syrup bath. 

5 ½ ounces (1 cup) shelled, unsalted pistachio nuts
Pinch of ground cinnamon
10 sheets of filo pastry
2 ¾ ounces butter, melted 

Syrup
5 ounces (2/3 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
5 ½ fluid ounces (2/3 cup) water
4 fluid ounces (½ cup) honey
½ teaspoon rosewater

To make the syrup, place all the ingredients in a deep saucepan over medium heat and slowly bring to a simmer. Simmer for 8–10 minutes, or until reduced by a third. Remove from the heat, leave to cool completely, then chill in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

For the filling, blitz the pistachio nuts and cinnamon in a food processor to a medium–fine texture – lots of dusty rubble, with a few bigger pieces.

Lay a sheet of filo pastry out on a clean work surface and brush with some of the melted butter. Cover with a second sheet and brush again. Take about a sixth of the pistachio nuts and sprinkle them evenly along the short edge of the pastry. Roll the pastry up tightly into a log, and cut into 5 even pieces – if some of the nuts fall out, don’t worry about it. Brush a 9 inch flan (tart) tin with butter, and begin laying the baklava pieces in a circular pattern.

Continue the process with the remaining pastry and the nut mixture until the tin is full, and all the pastry is used up. You should have about a sixth of the nuts left over.

Once all the baklava is in the tin, brush with the remaining melted butter and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove the baklava from the oven and transfer to a baking tray. Immediately spoon the chilled syrup over the hot baklava, soaking each piece. Decorate with the extra nuts. Leave to soak and cool for an hour, then serve.

Reprinted with permission from The Sugar Hit! Sweets That Pack a Punch!

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