Baklawa be’aj

Baklawa be’aj

Nut pastries

By
From
The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Makes
40
Photographer
Alan Benson

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500g fillo pastry
185ml Samneh
or 185ml unsalted butter
65g pistachio nuts, chopped, (optional)

Nut filling

Quantity Ingredient
2 egg whites
115g caster sugar
230g walnuts, coarsely ground
200g almonds, coarsely ground
1 teaspoon rosewater

Syrup

Quantity Ingredient
440g sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange flower water
1 teaspoon rosewater

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Stack 10 sheets of fillo pastry on a flat surface, keeping the remainder covered with a dry tea towel, with a damp tea towel on top.
  3. Brush the top sheet of the stack with melted samneh or butter. Lift the sheet and replace it on the stack, buttered side down. Brush the top with butter, lift the top two sheets and turn over on the stack. Repeat until all 10 sheets are buttered, lifting an extra sheet each time. The top and bottom of the finished stack should remain unbuttered.
  4. Using kitchen scissors, cut the buttered stack of fillo into approximately 10 cm squares. Stack and cover. Prepare the remaining fillo pastry as before. Depending on the size of the fillo sheets, you may have fewer than 10 left at the end, so halve the sheets if necessary to give 10 layers.
  5. To make the filling, beat the egg whites until stiff, then gradually beat in the sugar. Fold in the nuts and rosewater.
  6. Butter the top of a fillo square and place a tablespoon of nut mixture in the middle. Gently squeeze into a lily shape, with the four corners of the square as petals, and the filling in the centre. Place in a buttered 25 × 33 cm baking dish.
  7. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, placing the finished pastries close together in the dish. Bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C and bake for a further 15 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, make the syrup. Dissolve the sugar in 375 ml cold water in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the lemon juice and orange flower water and bring to the boil. Allow to boil for 15 minutes without stirring, then stir in the rosewater and cool.
  10. Spoon the syrup over the hot pastries and leave until cool. Sprinkle pistachio nuts in the centre of the pastries if desired.

Note

  • If you are not used to working with fillo pastry, fill and shape the first stack of buttered squares before working with the next lot. The butter firms fairly quickly and it may be difficult to shape the pastries if the buttered sheets are left for a time.
Tags:
The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Tess
Mallos
Middle Eastern
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