For those who are not familiar with Baklava, this Middle Eastern sweet is supposed to be the queen of all pastries. I am not very fond of sweets but this one is close to my heart. It is served on the Persian New Year which is on the 21st of March, same as my birthday. I love making it and I love serving it to friends and family. I am preparing this today to serve it at a party I am going to host in a couple of days. So you know you can prepare ahead and store this for good number of days.
Pistachio Nuts: 350 g finely chopped or ground, I used finely chopped as I like the crunchy feel.
Icing sugar: 150g
Ground Cardamom: 1 tbsp
Unsalted butter: 150g, melted
Filo Pastry: 1 box
For the syrup:
Granulated sugar: 450 g
Water: 300 ml
Rose water: 2 tbsp
First make the syrup and leave it to cool. In the sauce pan add the sugar and water and bring to boil. reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes till the liquid turns syrupy. Turn off the heat and add the rose water. Mix and let it cool.
Working with film pastry is easy if you follow the basic rule. Arrange all the ingredients. In a large bowl, mix the cardamom powder and the sugar with the pistachio nuts. Have the baking tray ready and then lay out the filo pastry sheets and keep it covered with a damp kitchen napkin. Fill pastry is very easy to handle as long they are moist. I can't stress on the fact enough that you need to keep the sheets covered at all times. (I have wasted quite a lot of pastry before I gave in to this point.) With a pastry brush, butter the base and the sides of the baking tray and gently lay one sheet. Then butter it again. This way make layers of 6 sheet. Then pour the half the pistachio mixture and spread it evenly and press gently with the back of the spoon. Repeat another 6 layers the same way and then do the next layer of pistachio nuts. Then do the final 6 layers and brush again. Now, with a sharp knife cut diagonal shapes into the pastry layers. Pour rest of the butter if any and then put it in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Increase the temperature to 200°C and then bake for another 15 minutes till light golden in color and puffed.