cheats’ baklava, vegan

I could eat a whole tray of these

Who has time to make their own filo (phyllo)? Not me. Plus all the pre-made filo I’ve seen in Scotland is vegan – it’s made with vegetable oil or margarine – which makes it perfect for sharing at a party or dinner where you might have to cater to people with dairy allergies, lactose intolerance etc.

You could customise the ingredients with whatever you fancy, and mine is by no means traditional! I just find the combination of pistachio, date and rose makes the baklava taste even more special!

ingredients

12 sheets filo/phyllo pastry (in UK, this means 2 packs!)

220g margarine

60ml agave syrup

50ml date puree (I make this by stewing dates with a wee bit water, then blitzing it with a blender. Don’t have? Just use same quantity agave!)

250g soft brown sugar

300ml water

300g pistachios

100g walnuts

30g dried rose petals

method

  1. Add the syrup, puree, sugar and water to a saucepan. Stir in the sugar and then let it simmer at a low heat until it has become slightly thicker, but not as viscous as honey – as a rough guide, after simmering for 15 minutes, mine was ready. Then put it somewhere to cool – this step is first because the syrup needs time to cool before it is poured onto the baklava.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C. Melt the margarine and use a spatula or pastry brush to grease a a shallow tin…or in my case, a clay tray haha!IMG_20160319_011325.jpg
  3. Chop the nuts – I like mine on the coarser side but you can chop them pretty fine if you like! Set them aside.
  4. Put a sheet of pastry on the bottom of the tin, and cover it with melted margarine using your spatula. Be careful not to tear the pastry! Add another sheet on top, add margarine, and repeat for 2 additional sheets (4 in total).
  5. Once 4 sheets are in the tray, evenly distribute 1/2 of the nuts and petals, then begin putting the next 4 sheets of pastry on top. By the end, you are looking for the following pattern:

top:

margarine

pastry

margarine

pastry

margarine

pastry

margarine

pastry

Nuts & petals

margarine

pastry

margarine

pastry

margarine

pastry

margarine

pastry

Nuts & petals

margarine

pastry

margarine

pastry

margarine

pastry

margarine

pastry

Bottom (base of tin)

6. The last sheet of pastry should get a bit more margarine than the others to stop it drying out in the oven. Cut the out the classic baklava shape while it’s in the tin (sorry tin!)

7. Bake it for about 25 mins, or until you get the golden brown colour you’re after.

8. Take it out and pour half the syrup evenly over the baklava, then pour the rest over 5 minutes later. Let it cool for 30 minutes and enjoy!

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