Persian Nut Pastry/Baghlava

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Persian Nut Pastry/Baghlava

Baghlava is one of the most common Middle Eastern desserts, and it is found on menus from Turkey to Egypt. However, recipes do vary slightly from country to country.This one is a traditional Persian (Iranian) version of the sweet. Other recipes replace the cardamom with cinnamon and use one layer of nuts—usually walnuts or pistachios—in place of the two different layers called for here.


Ingredients

Pastry:
        1 c. ground almonds
        ¾ c. sugar
        1 tsp. ground cardamom
        1 c. ground pistachios, plus 1½ tbsp. finely chopped pistachios for garnish
        4 tbsp. (½ stick) butter, melted
        6 large sheets phyllo dough, thawed*
Syrup:
        ¾ c. sugar
        6 tbsp. water
        2 tbsp. rose water.

*Look for frozen phyllo at your grocery store or at specialty markets. Before using phyllo, thaw it completely by following directions on the package. While working with the dough, keep the stack of sheets covered with a damp cloth.This will keep them moist and flexible and make them less likely to tear or crack.

Instructions

1. Preheat over to 375°F.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine almonds with 6 tbsp. of the sugar and ½ tsp. of the cardamom. In a second bowl, combine pistachios with remaining sugar and cardamom. Set aside.

3. Brush an 11x 7-inch baking dish with melted butter. Place one layer of phyllo dough in dish and use a pastry brush to brush dough with butter. Add another layer, also brushing this one with butter.

4. Spread the almond mixture in an even layer over pastry. Add another sheet of phyllo and brush it with butter. Add the pistachios in a layer over the dough. Add the last two sheets of phyllo, buttering each one before you place it on top of the pistachio mixture.

5. Use a fork to prick small holes in the baghlava’s surface. Place in oven and bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

6. While baghlava is baking, prepare syrup. Place sugar and water in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and boil gently for 15 minutes. Remove promptly from heat and stir in rose water.

7. Remove baghlava from oven. Use a sharp knife to cut it into small diamond-shaped pieces. Pour syrup over all and sprinkle with pistachios.

Food: Persian Nut Pastry/Baghlava

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