Thursday, July 3, 2008


I recently read a charming book called Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran. It's about 3 Iranian sisters who move to Ireland and open a cafe. Each chapter begins with a different recipe (incorporated into the storyline) and I was enticed by the descriptions of Persian cooking, particularly the use of spices such as cardamom, cinnamon and of course rose water.
I made the baklava this morning and it tastes pretty good even if I say so myself. Judged 5/5 by Graham and rather a lot consumed so that must be a good sign!

Here is the recipe from the book. I halved it as I only have a small oven so can't use a bigger pan and I also used mostly pistachios and a few almonds. I ended up with quite a lot of nut mixture left, in fact enough for a second batch!

For the syrup:
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup rosewater (you could reduce this and add more water if you don't want such a strong rose flavour)

For the pastry:
Filo (phyllo) pastry, cut with scissors to fit your dish, I used a small baking tray 25 x 30cm.
500g shelled pistachios
500g blanched almonds
2 cups brown sugar
2 tbpsn ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

To make syrup: bring sugar, water and rosewater to boil in a medium saucepan, set aside to cool.

Grind nuts, spices and sugar in food processor for about 1min.

Butter your dish. Lay 5 sheets of buttered filo pastry into dish. Then spread a thin layer of the nut mixture, cover with 5 more sheets of buttered pastry, repeat nuts then pastry. I repeated this for a further time but I guess you could put more nuts in between, I did quite a thin layer. With sharp knife mark out diamond shapes (cut across and diagonally). Bake for 180 for about 1hr* NB I used a cooler oven 160 and took it out after 40 mins. In another recipe book, it says to bake for 25 mins. Pour the cooled syrup over the top and leave to cool completely before cutting into diamonds and serving.

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