Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mini Baklava Cups

 
My first memories of baklava are from growing up in London, when my dads Egyptian friend would come over to visit, always armed with a huge tray of fresh Lebanese baklava. I can't tell you how many little pastries would be devoured within minutes, as the whole family delighted in the various shaped Arabic sweets. Diamonds, vermicelli nests, rolls; some perfectly bite-size and others that when bit into, would leave tell-tale pastry crumbs all around our mouths. The sweet taste of the flaky pastry, combined with the nibbly, sticky, baked nut mixture, makes baklava a dessert which is really quite incomparable to any other.
 
 
For those who don't know, baklava is a rich and sweet pastry filled with chopped nuts, and sweetened with sugar syrup. Its popular all over the Middle-East as well as Mediterranean countries such as Greece and Turkey. For anyone with a sweet-tooth, there isn't really anything not to love!
 
 
When I was looking on the internet for a baklava recipe, I was sceptical as to how it would turn out in my hands, as the taste of baklava pastries is so distinct I figured it would be difficult to replicate. I was completely wrong. Not only is baklava really easy to make, but it really tastes just like 'how it's supposed to.' This is the first time I really 'got to know' and work with filo pastry, so for a first-timer I really didn't have any issues!
 
 
Now for the technical (but easy) part. Normally baklava is prepared in big pans, which makes quite a lot of pastry, but since I decided to make them individually, you can choose how many you want to make depending on what sort of tray you use - I used a small pan with about seven round cake pop moulds, but I think it would also work with a mini cupcake tray. The idea is to use the shape of the cupcake or cake pop mould and press the filo pastry into each mould to acquire its shape when baked.

In addition, you should only need about a quarter worth of filo pastry of a 270g pack. Remove the filo dough from the freezer and keep overnight in the fridge. Then leave it out on the counter for half hour before using. Open to remove the required sheets, then put the rest of the filo pastry (wrapped tightly in clingfilm) back in the freezer.
 
Don't separate the layers, but instead cut across them for easy and quick handling, otherwise you will spend a long time cutting out shapes! For each baklava pastry I used 5 layers of 2x2 inch squares, so if you keep this in mind you can decide how many pastries you want to make and how many squares you will need in total.
Simply put, cut across the layers to get your 2x2" squares, and then use five squares per pastry!However keep in mind when preparing the pastry you will need to work quite fast as filo dries out quickly.
 
 
Not only does homemade baklava look highly impressive in front of the family, it disappears quickly too! Serve with some mint tea or coffee for a delicious after dinner delight the traditional way!
 
Mini Baklava Cups
 
Makes 7-10 pastries

Filo/Phyllo Pastry sheets (see instructions above for defrosting and how much to use)
1 cup pistachios and cashew nuts
2 tblspns butter, melted for brushing
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tblspn lemon
Half tspn cinnamon powder
2 tblspns honey
 
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Blend the nuts together in a blender - you want them to be a mix of quite finely and roughly chopped and pre-melt your butter. 
Now taking your sheets of filo, and without separating the sheets, cut your squares into 2x2" as directed above. Separate the squares on a work surface and brush each square with some butter. Using 5 squares for each pastry, stack them on top of each other, buttered side up, with each square being placed at a slightly different angle. You should have a flower-like/star shaped layer. Keep on doing this until you have as many pastries as you need. Press each filo stack into your tray mould so that it covers the base and sides, creating a bowl-like shape.
Spoon the nuts into each shape till 3/4 full and put into the oven. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the pastry is visibly crispy and very golden brown.
Meanwhile prepare the syrup. In a small pan add the water, sugar, lemon and cinnamon powder, stirring till sugar has dissolved over low heat. Take off the heat and stir in the honey.
Once the pastry is done, leave to cool for about 5 minutes, before pouring a little syrup over each pastry while still warm. Allow to absorb for a minute before pouring a little more syrup so that each pastry is well moistened. Cool fully before serving.

I got featured on Back For Seconds for this post, so thanks to all who have visited and enjoyed my Mini Baklava Cups!

9 comments:

  1. These look very pretty I'm sure they taste just as good :D

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  2. These are beautiful and I just love that you made them mini! Thank you so much for sharing these at the Back for Seconds Social - You are being featured tomorrow night :) Congratulations, feel free to grab a button!

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    1. Thank you so much Stephanie! So happy that you like them and I feel honoured to be featured!

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  3. What a wonderful presentation. I love them in a bite sized dainty looking Phyllo cup. Looks great.

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  4. These look so yummy! Visiting from DearCreatives.com I'd love for you to drop by sometime. Theresa

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  5. Love the idea of the cups instead of the whole sheet of baklava. Sounds perfect for a party too. Thanks for sharing on Thursdays Treasures.

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