- First make the syrup: Put all the syrup ingredients into a pan over a high heat, bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve all the sugar then remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.
- Next prepare the filling: Place walnuts or whatever combination of nuts you’re using into a food processor and pulse until you have a rough breadcrumb like consistency- don’t over mix to a powder. Stir through the spices and leave in a bowl to one side.
- Now to the filo pastry: Melt the butter and leave to cool to room temperature, then brush the base and sides of the baking tin with melted butter.
- Place the first sheet of pastry into the tin length ways, the second sheet width ways, press into the corners. Leave the excess filo hanging over the edges of the tin, drizzle with butter.
- Continue in the same way adding another 2 sheets of filo and drizzling butter, then fold over the edges, bettering as you go.
- Sprinkle a handful of the nut mixture over the buttered filo.
- Cut the remaining filo in half, (this should give you sheets that exactly fit the baking tray), leave 4 sheets to one side and proceed to layer: filo, butter and nuts. Use up all the nuts and filo except for the last 4.
- Layer and butter the last four sheets.
- Pour the remaining butter over the top and place in the fridge for 20 minutes- this makes it easier to cut.
- Remove from the fridge and with a sharp knife cut into small diamond sized pieces being careful to cut about two thirds of the way through- not to the base.
- Sprinkle with cold water and bake in the center of a preheated oven at 150 degrees for approximately 2 hours- until golden brown and crispy.
- Remove from the oven and immediately pour over the cooled syrup (minus the orange & spices) slowly and evenly.
- Leave for several hours until the liquid is absorbed.
Best served with vanilla ice-cream and sprinkled with nuts.
It will keep either at room temperature or in the fridge, in an airtight container for around 2 weeks.
Baklava can be frozen either before or after cooking.
Just a few notes on using filo pastry
If using frozen pastry remove from the freezer the day before you need it and leave to defrost in the fridge overnight.
Place a damp tea towel both underneath and on top of the pastry while using to stop it drying out.
Some sheets of pastry will tear, it’s inevitable so don’t worry. The taste will not be impaired in any way and once it’s cooked no one will know but you.