Have you ever tried baklava almond fingers? They're my absolute favourite kind of baklava. With their crispy shells and blissfully buttery nutty interior.
These, folks, are to die for!
And since Middle-Eastern bakeries are scarce in the north, I decided to try making them myself. And guess what, it's not that hard at all.
You know what tastes better than baklava?
Fresh out of the oven, homemade baklava!
Now that's what I'm talking about ; )
Read on for the recipe....
Homemade Baklava Almond Fingers
Filo pastry sheets, approximately 18 (12 by 17 inch sheets) at room temperature
1 cup basic syrup (see recipe below)
2 cups finely ground almonds
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon orange blossom water (mazaher)
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons ground pistachios for garnish
First make the syrup (below) and set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the almonds and sugar. Now mix in the orange flower water, by pressing the almonds into the sides of the bowl as you mix. Do this until well-combined, and the mixture appears moist.
Open your filo package and lay the sheets out flat, then cover with a damp kitchen towel so they don't dry out and break.
Brush the entire surface of a single filo sheet with melted butter, then layer a second sheet on top of that (stacking them lengthwise, so that the long 17-inch side faces you ). Butter the top sheet as well.
Now take the bottom corners and fold the entire stack in half lengthwise (giving you a 17-inch long by 6 inch rectangle, seam facing you). Again, brush the top with butter.
Now take 3 tablespoons of almond filling and spread it out in a line, 1/2 an inch from the seam. Fold the dough over the nuts and roll up tightly toward the top into a thin log. Brush the entire roll with butter (to prevent it from cracking) and place it seam-side down on an aluminum foil lined baking tray.
Now repeat the whole process with another 2 sheets of filo. Place each finished roll tightly up against the next one on the baking tray. When you're all finished, cut the rolls into bite sized cylinders (approx 5 cm long).
Place in the middle of the oven and bake 35-40 minutes, until really golden-brown (make sure the bottoms are cooked too).
Now drizzle them with syrup and allow to cool.
Store in an air-tight container for days, or in the fridge for weeks.
Basic Syrup (this makes more than you need for the baklava recipe):
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
In a sauce pan, dissolve sugar into water, and place over high heat. Bring to a rolling boil, then allow to boil for 2 minutes, uncovered. Then stir in the lemon juice (this prevents the syrup from crystallizing), and allow to boil another 15 seconds. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before using. The syrup will seem watery at first, but will thicken as it cools.
Recipe from Classic Lebanese Cuisine, by Chef Kamal Al-Faqih