I know that I’m biased to say this, but my mum makes the best baklava ever. Honestly, I’ve never had one that’s better than hers! Other’s are either super dry, flakey, the wrong flavours, have no flavour or are too sweet. You can make it with different nuts, but the one that I have grown up eating was with walnuts.
Baklava typically uses butter. I decided to give it a go with macadamia oil, and it was perfect. You also normally use raw sugar, but I used coconut sugar instead and nowhere near as much as they do traditionally. I’ve heard they use up to 1 kilo for one tray of baklava. Now that’s a bit of a sugar overdose!
Using macadamia oil and coconut sugar helps to make this treat that little bit healthier and vegan-friendly. It’s loaded with calories but nowhere near as much. I wouldn’t recommend you eat more than two pieces a day (even two is a little much, but hey, we all need to treat ourselves now and then right?)
My mum was by my side when I was making this, so I made sure that I got every step right. Once finished, I had no idea how easy it was to make it. I’ll be making baklava as a treat a couple of times a year, for sure!
I’ve been enjoying taking recipes from my childhood that have been vegetarian and transitioning them to a tastier, healthier and vegan version of the same dish and not compromising flavour.
I like showing you visually some of the steps so you can see what it should look like. The images below are of what the layering of the walnuts should look like as you are building the pastry and walnut layers, and then what it should look like once it’s finished baking straight out of the oven.
The following images demonstrate how you should cut it while it’s still hot and how it looks when you have poured the syrup on top with the cut lemon slices.
- 4 cups walnuts
- 1 cup macadamia oil
- 375 gr filo pastry (I used store bought or you can make your own)
- 2 cups coconut sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1 lemon, cut into thin slices
- Preheat oven to 180C (360F).
- Oil the bottom of a baking dish around 23x33cm.
- Start off with blending half the walnuts in your food processor using an S blade and blend until it almost turns into a walnut meal. Add in the other half of the walnuts and pulse until you have some smaller chunks of walnuts left. I like to have some chunkier bits in here to have a more textured baklava.
- Place 2 sheets of the filo on the bottom of the baking dish, leaving the sides hang out of the dish a little.
- Using an oil brush, oil the filo pastry and sprinkle evenly with 1 1/2 tbsps of walnuts. Make sure to also get some in the corners.
- Fold one sheet of the filo in half and place on top. Coat this layer with macadamia oil.
- Continue this process of layering until you have run out of walnuts. You may have one sheet of filo left over at the end.
- To finish it off, top with 2 filo sheets and tuck and overlap the filo on the sides. Coat with macadamia oil and place in the oven.
- Bake for 50 minutes until the top of the filo becomes golden brown (as pictured in image above)
- While the baklava is baking, place the coconut sugar and water in a saucepan and stir over a low-medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a gentle simmer for 7-10 minutes. You can cook it for longer if you want a thicker sauce. Make sure you don't reduce it too much as you will need it to seep into the pastry.
- Once the pastry is done, cut it into diamond shapes as demonstrated in image above while it's still hot. Pour 3/4 of the syrup over the baklava aiming to get it in between the cut sections.
- Place the slices of lemon on top and pour the rest over.
- Set aside to cool completely before serving.
- You can eat the lemon if you wish but it's more there for that extra flavour whilst it cools and it looks pretty 🙂