Travel & Life Digest

Plum & Lavender Baklava

A couple of weeks ago a friend told me about a bake sale, organised in aid of a charity that supports children in Greece.
I enjoy baking, so I thought it would be nice to help out. 
Before committing to anything I took a minute to look into this charity (dubious nature I have, you see) and although the charity proved to have a genuine cause, as I was looking at information and figures around the web, I soon came to realise something else, really sad. 

From my own experiences, I can tell you that Greece used to be one of these places where people would turn to their extended family network for assistance. There were some established charities helping out marginalised families, but not in a large scale, because there was little need for them. 

I gave it some thought and realised that the way families used to be structured in this part of the world, provided members with safety and support in times of need. Whatever your opinion about the European financial crisis, from a social perspective it is unfortunate that it has impacted on communities so deeply, that even sacred family bonds are breaking apart. I have sadly witnessed this myself. People have turned bitter and somehow selfish. Hence, there has been more of a need lately, for external support systems, like charities. 

Anyway, I decided to go ahead with it, so back to the baking. 
I decided to make my soundproof Chocolate cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing and this Lavender Baklava recipe I found in House & Garden magazine. I can only hope that when my blog reaches adulthood, it will look like the H&G website! 

Baklava is somehow of a winter dessert for me; preparing the plums though put me in a very summery mood! 

Speaking of plums, make sure you use ripe ones, because they are sweeter. If you can't get hold of them or you are pressed for time, cook them for a bit longer at a lower temperature and add some extra lavender sugar. I learnt this the hard way, my Baklava had a bit of a sharp aftertaste, because the plums were not ripe enough!  

Also make all of the lavender sugar you need in one batch (roughly 350gr in total) to avoid repeating the same process.

Either way, when you open the oven door there is a magnificent strong lavender and plum scent...very homely!

For the Syrup: 
250g runny honey
250g lavender sugar (or simply caster sugar plus two tablespoons of dried lavender crushed in the pestle & mortar)
250ml water
1 cinnamon stick

For the Baklava:

10 ripe plums, halved, stoned and cut into cubes
100g lavender caster sugar (as described above, for the syrup) 
200g roasted almonds, finely chopped
150g roasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
150g unsalted butter, melted
12 sheets of filo pastry (you might need more, depending on the shape and size of baking tray you are using)

Make the Syrup first:

Put the honey, lavender sugar and cinnamon stick in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, until the syrup starts to thicken.
Leave aside to cool and discard the cinnamon stick.

For the Baklava:

Prepare the plums.
Toss the plum cubes with half of the lavender sugar and put in a roasting tin.
Cover with foil and roast for 20 minutes in 180C. Set aside to cool down.
Strain off any cooking juices and add them to the syrup you made previously. 

Mix the chopped nuts with the remaining lavender sugar and set aside.


Brush the bottom of a 24x30cm baking tray with melted butter. 
Lay the first layer of filo. Brush with butter and repeat until you have 3 layers of buttered filo. 
Sprinkle a third of the nut mixture evenly over the filo, followed by a third of the sliced plums. 

Take another 3 layers of filo, brush with butter as before, and lay on top of the nuts and plums and repeat as above. Repeat once more.

To finish, brush the remaining three layers of filo with butter and place on top.
Using a sharp knife, score a diamond pattern on the surface, no deeper than the top layer of nuts. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with a few drops of water to prevent the pastry from curling during cooking.

Bake for 35-40 minutes in 180C. 

Remove from the oven and pour the cold syrup over the hot baklava and listen closely as the hot pastry absorbs the sweet syrup.
Keep your face away though, or the steam will get you!
Set aside to cool for a few hours, until the syrup has been fully absorbed.

It's not difficult to make, it does take time, but do not be dis-heartened, it makes around 20 pieces and it keeps well for a couple of days so it's perfect to nibble on, when you need something sweet! 

Plus, the sweet aromas throughout the process, will make your kitchen a very happy place to be in! x  

No comments

Post a Comment

© Life Love London

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services - Click here for information.

Professional Blog Designs by pipdig