Burma Baklava: Pistachio And Walnuts Wrapped In Filo Pastry
- Sushmita Sengupta
Updated : July 19, 2022 11:07 IST
These butter-baked flaky, filo pastries are irresistibly delicious
Even if you have not eaten this delicate Middle East delicacy, you can closely feel and imagine the taste of these tiny but lofty-tasting Baklavas made up of just four ingredients. The nutty and regal taste is achieved by the extremely well-known and popularly consumed ingredients, pistachios and walnuts in the crumbled form along with sugar syrup and lemon juice. But of course, there is a little art in layering the filo sheets with generous butter and rolling the coarsely ground dry fruits over it into thin sheets, but it is very much possible with slow hands and carefulness. The lemony sugar syrup poured over the baked Baklavas gives a mesmerizingly sweet finish to the Baklavas.
The Sweet History Of Baklavas
First thing first, let’s break down some names, starting with Baklava, which is a Turkish word from a Mongolian root word meaning to wrap up or pile up. It is believed to have originated in Istanbul during the Ottoman Empire. The Baklava uses a thin filo pastry to wrap the ingredients. The filo dough is made from wheat flour, water, vinegar and a small amount of melted butter. The dough is rolled and then stretched by hand into very large and extremely thin sheets.
Baklava is an integral part of the cuisine of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Central Asian and Balkan countries. A traditional pastry dessert known for its sweet, rich flavour and flaky texture, it is a layered pastry dessert made of filo pastry, filled with chopped nuts, and sweetened with syrup or honey. The surprising part is that Burma Baklava has nothing to do with the country Burma but is a Turkish word which means yellow twist. It's similar to the traditional baklava and uses almost the same ingredients, but with a more plentiful walnut or other dried nuts filling.
For the sugar syrup:
- 250 gm or 1¼ cup granulated sugar
- 150 gm or ⅔ cup of water
- ½ tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cinnamon scroll or ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
For the baklava:
- 500 gm fresh filo dough
- 250 gm butter
- 100 gm walnuts
- 100 gm pistachios
- For making the sugar syrup, add the sugar, water and lemon juice to a pot and bring it to a boil.
- After the sugar dissolves, turn the heat to low.
- Add the cinnamon scroll to the sugar syrup and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- For making clarified butter, add butter to a pot on high heat and melt completely. Then boil the butter for a couple of minutes, and pour it out into a jug. Make sure not to pour out any of the milk solids.
- After half an hour pours into another vessel the remaining milk solids.
- To assemble the Baklava, firstly grind the nuts into a fine meal or khus khus grain.
- Grease the base and walls of a baking dish with some of the clarified butter
- Place a sheet of filo dough on a cutting board and cut it into half, then brush one half with clarified butter all over while coating the edges and corners of the sheet.
- Place the other half sheet on top of the buttered one, and massage out any air pockets or wrinkles.
- Apply clarified butter to the top of the sheet you just applied until fully coated.
- Turn on its side and sprinkle 2-3 teaspoons of nuts over the sheet. Try to keep the bottom quarter of the sheet relatively clean
- Insert a small wooden ice cream stick to roll the pastry around, then roll the pastry sheet to form a cylindrical shaped filo roll.
- Place both fists on the edges of the pastry and push towards the centre to compress the pastry until it is about ⅔rd of its original size.
- Now gently remove the stick and place the roll inside the baking sheet. Bunch up any excess on the sheet to one size. Fill the baking tray with more filo rolls.
- Before baking, use a sharp knife to trim any excess pastry from the dish along the lengths and then evenly cut the pastry into little finger-sized pieces.
- Brush the top of the baklava with more clarified butter.
- Preheat an oven to 180 degrees Celsius and bake the baklavas for 1 hour.
- Remove them from the oven when golden brown all over, and immediately pour the sugar syrup over the baked baklavas.
- Allow to cool for about half an hour, but it tastes better if it is allowed to sit overnight.
- Garnish the baklavas with chopped pistachios.
The filo sheets are also known as filo pastry and they are flaky, super delicate and readily available at some grocery stores. You have to take a bit of care while layering the filo sheets before and after filling powdered nuts.