Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Dan Lepard's Spiced Baklava

With just two weeks to go, I had to get my act together and try making baklava.  It's something I've wanted to do for years and it was on my list for the Olympic Food Challenge but because it could have been a recipe from about three of my countries on the list, I kept putting it off until I had no suitable countries left.  I'd gotten as far as buying the filo, but that was it.

So today, having promised my work colleagues at the other office that I'd bring them cake, I figured it was time to get my pastry thang on and put another tick on the list.  And who better to guide me through the minefield of recipes than Dan Lepard?
Partially syruped baklava

The recipe is simplicity in itself.  The only problem I had was with the power of my food processor with it taking nearly ten minutes to process the nuts to a dust.  And a bit of stupidity on my part where I didn't quite pay attention to the instructions for the dark sugar syrup and put all the water into the pan at the start - thus having to try and ladle it all out again without removing the sugar.

Using shop-bought filo is one of those acceptable kitchen shortcuts that even the most capable of bakers will do.  I'd love to see them have a filo-from-scratch challenge on the Great British Bake Off - it would probably make great entertainment.  Most people shy away from making their own filo but the lovely Lauren from the Eighty Bakes blog made her own in an epic version of baklava.  I am in awe of her patience.

The recipe calls for 500ml of syrup which seems massively excessive.  I was in two minds about whether or not to use it all, but knowing Dan's recipes always work pretty well (see the chocolate cake disaster) I ended up using it all.  Having just popped out to check on it as it cools, it seems pretty soggy so I'm hoping it will set once its cold.  This will be one of those posts where I'll have to update with feedback tomorrow.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

You can find the recipe here

Updated 12th September @ 12:10

I should have gone with my gut instinct.  500ml of syrup was way too much.  It wasn't so much a soggy bottom as a drowned bottom.  The whole lot ended up in the bin at about 5am this morning.  Saddened is an understatement - especially as the nuts and filo were so expensive.

I'd recommend anyone trying this recipe to add the syrup in stages and review after each addition has had time to soak in.

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