Traditionally baklava is made with filo pastry and chopped nuts, drizzled with a sugary syrup or honey. I added my new Christmas twist by using mincemeat instead.
I made my own mincemeat and filo pastry - the mincemeat is really easy and delicious but the filo can be time consuming and takes some effort. If you are feeling brave why not give filo a go?
Even if you opt for the shop bought stuff (and I've been there !) it will still taste great.
For the Mincemeat
- 800g Dried fruit (soaked in a couple of tbsp of brandy for an hour beforehand)
- 130g Butter
- 220g Light brown Muscovado sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 130ml Brandy
For the filo(20 sheets)
- 250g Plain flour
- 5 tsp Olive oil
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 180ml Warm water
- 2 tsp White wine vinegar
- 5tbsp Cornstarch (you could always substitute with cornflour)
- 2tbsp Plain flour
- 200g Butter (melted)
For the Brandy sugar syrup
- 80ml Water
- 165g Sugar
- 2 tsp Brandy
- Make your mincemeat by placing the dried fruit, butter, sugar and cinnamon into a saucepan. Heat gently until all the butter has melted before bringing up to a gentle simmer, stirring regularly for approximately 7-10 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes before stirring in the brandy and placing into sterilised jars.
- Now prepare the filo pastry by placing the pain flour, oil, salt, water and vinegar into a bowl and stirring until a smooth dough comes together.
- Knead by hand for a minute or so before wrapping the dough in clingfilm and placing in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the fridge and divide the dough into 20 x 20g pieces.
- Take one 20g ball of dough, covering the remaining dough with clingfilm, and place on a surface covered with a mixture of cornstarch and plain flour.
- Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a large, thin circle shape. The elasticity of the dough will mean this will work but you need to roll the dough out until it is nearly paper thin. Keep dusting your dough with the cornstarch mixture to prevent it from sticking to your work surface.
- Once your sheet of filo is ready, dust a sheet a greaseproof paper with cornstarch mixture and place the filo onto it.
- Repeat the rolling method with each and everyone of the filo dough balls, ensuring that your work-surface is always covered in cornstarch mixture. (This will prevent it sticking - there is nothing more gutting than rolling out a sheet of filo then realising it has to go in the bin because it has all stuck to the work surface). It is also important to make sure that when you place a sheet of filo onto the greaseproof paper stack dust the top with a little cornstarch mixture to prevent the layers from sticking together - did I mention filo takes a little effort, as well as time !
- Once all your sheets of filo are rolled out you can begin to construct your baklava.
- Grease and line a 20x20cm square tin before placing down your first sheet of filo on the base of the tin. Brush the sheet with a layer of melted butter before placing down another sheet if filo on top of it. Repeat this method of layering and brushing with butter until you have 10 layers of pastry.
- After you have ten layers it is time to add the mincemeat. Take 400g of mincemeat and spread it evenly across the entire filo base.
- Then layer up the remaining 10 sheets of filo and on the final layer be extra generous on the melted butter. Slice the pastry into diamond patterns and place in the oven at 150 degrees (fan) for 75 minutes.
- Just before the 75 minutes are up - make your brandy sugar syrup by placing the sugar and water together in a saucepan. Heat until simmering before adding the brandy.
- Once the 75 minutes are up, pour the entire syrup mixture over the baklava and place the tin back in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and serve warm for the best results.