Saturday, 24 March 2012


Last brunch club I attempted my first Baklava. I like Baklava but I always find them too sweet to be able to enjoy more than a bite and the syrup coating the crispy filo hurts my teeth. Broken down,  the bits and pieces are a delicious combination of flavour and texture. Savoury nuts mixed with the natural sweetness of honey and crunchy buttery filo pastry. I took apart the baklava and created three elements for a deconstructed dessert for our Middle East London brunch club.

A crunchy filo stack with doughy pistachio and walnuts spiced and sweetened with sugar syrup along with honeycomb ice cream.

Ice cream has been a constant feature in brunch clubs recently with my magical machine creating avocado helado, christmas pudding ice cream and whiskey sour sorbet to name a few. Its my favourite kitchen appliance (apart from maybe my Kenwood kitchen chef). I decided to make an ice cream using the honey element of the Baklava complete with crunchy bits of honeycomb reminisant of hokey pokey ice cream. A flavour Kiwi kids will remember.
< Here are the quite simple instructions to prepare your Bits of Baklava

For the Baklava
16 - 20 servings depending on size
5 sheets Filo pastry
2tbsp butter ( enough to coat the 5 film sheets )
100 g unsalted pistachios
100 g walnuts
1Tbsp honey
1 cup water
1 cup caster sugar

Pre heat the oven to 200c. Start with a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. On top of this place a sheet of filo, brush with a little melted butter,  repeat with more filo and butter until you have used 5 filo sheets. Cut the filo to your individually desired sizes. I used a circle cutter around 6cm diameter.

Place in a preheated oven for 20 minutes until golden brown. 
When serving Nick poured a little sugar syrup on the film, but this is optional. I prefer it with out.

To make the filling take pistachios and walnuts and add to a food processor with ground cloves and cinnamon. Mix together till the nuts are roughly broken up but not too powdery as you still want bit of bite. 

In a small saucepan add water, sugar and honey, heat until sugar is dissolved and the syrup has thickened. Add the nuts mixture to this syrup, mixing through. The syrup will thicken even more once it cools down. Place in the fridge to cool until you need to plate up. At least a couple of hours. 

For the Honey Ice cream
550g double cream
6 large egg yolks
225 g runny honey
250ml Milk

For the Honey Comb
125g caster sugar
1 Tbsp runny honey
1/4 tsp bicarbonate soda

Method - using an ice cream machine
Make sure the ice cream machine has been chilled for at least 24 hours.

Its a basic custard recipe with the addition of honey. Firstly warm the honey in a sauce pan, add the cream and milk and heat until just before boiling. Stir and watch the liquid doesn't stick, boil or burn. Remove from the heat before taking your attention to the eggs. 

Whisk your eggs, then add the warm custard liquid to the eggs, whisking to combine. 

Return the mixture to the saucepan and over a low heat stir until it starts to thicken. I find the best time to stop this, before you get in to curdling territory, is to watch for the length of time the lines in the custard take to disappear as you move the wooden spoon through it. It won't suddenly become very thick but it will start to slow down. It takes only a few minutes. Transfer the mixture to a container which you can pop in the fridge until it has chilled for a couple of hours.

While your waiting for the custard to cool, make your honeycomb. Line an oven tray with greaseproof paper. In a saucepan add the sugar, honey and 4-5Tbsp of water, bring to the boil. When the mixture has become caramel and honey coloured turn off the heat and add the bicarbonate soda, whisking quickly to combine. As soon as it's combined pour it on to the prepared baking tray and leave to cool and harden.

After a couple of hours you should have cold custard and hard brittle honey comb. I smashed the honeycomb up under a tea towel using a rolling pin and mixed in to to my custard. Pour the custard in to the ice cream machine and churn until it forms smooth ice cream, around 30 minutes. 
You could serve immediately or put the ice cream in a sealed container in the freezer, removing around 10 minutes before you want to serve.

Plating up your Baklava
You can be creative with plating up, making a stack might be nice, I thought sprinkling the nut mixture on the ice cream would be cool. For brunch club went for something simple that we could get out quickly without anything melting.  


Post a Comment