Monday, March 19, 2012

rose, pear and hazelnut baklava (The March Sweet Adventures Blog Hop- Layer Upon Layer)

Oh my! Welcome to the March Sweet Adventures Blog Hop! The theme for this month's adventures into sweetness is:

You can contribute your own recipe by typing it up on your blog, then following the prompts below to link it up to this hop! I'm super excited about the possibilities of this hop because (goshdarnit) layered desserts are diverse but simultaneously delicious!

So without much further ado I should get started on telling you about my (dastardly) plans for my layered recipe...

I just love baklava. All those layers and layers of pastry and thick, sweet delicious sauce, with the nuts! (OH MY!) However, I also like playing with traditional recipes, investigating flavours and seeing if I can make something new and different with the concept of a traditional dessert. Once I made a baklava cheesecake. (Yeah... it was pretty delicious.)

So I'm going to try a little experiment. I'm going to try and take a traditional baklava recipe and adapt it to include some of my favourite flavours IN THE WORLD AND EVER.

I am going to try to create a recipe that meets the following prerequisites.

1) My lovely friend Kate adores baklava... but she's allergic to oranges. Recently at a dinner party she had to watch us all eat baklava while she went without because George Colombaris' baklava recipe has orange juice in it. She was terribly sad and hungry and sad. This will not happen again. My baklava recipe will have zero oranges. ZERO.

2) Someone once told me that the measure of a good piece of baklava is if when you bite into it the syrup runs down your arm in a sticky, delicious trail. I'm going to try and make this a reality. Then I'm going to try to take pictures, so we can all watch the sticky mess unfolding (and drool.)

3) I want to include one of my favourite dessert flavour combinations in this baklava: pear, hazelnuts, rose water, vanilla and lemon. Hopefully it will all work out and not be a disaster. That would be super awkward (and lame.) Also I have dreams of serving this with some marscarpone. Then I have dreams of eating it all and sitting in a pear, hazeltnut and rose bakalava with marscarpone stupor for at least 2 hours.

An actual and real picture of some of the things I made my baklava with

Also: I would like to inform you that I made this dessert with the lovely Ai-Ling from The Food Endeavours of the Blue Apocalypse and Lauren from Corridor Kitchen because Lauren was totally visiting us on a food adventure in Perth this weekend just past. Here are some pictures I took to prove this actually happened and that we ate lots of food:

So here you go, the much anticipated (or perhaps not so much) recipe for my twist on baklava...

Pear, Hazelnut and Rose Baklava with Marscarpone
Makes about 10 serves

The pastry part:
4 med sized pears (bartlett)
1 tsp lemon juice
290g butter
300g hazelnuts
200g blanched almonds
2 tbsp sugar
3 tsp rose water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 packet filo (I didn't quite use all of one)

The syrup part:
1 vanilla bean (split)
400 ml water
300g caster sugar
2 tbsp rose water

2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cardamom pod
zest of 1 lemon

For serving (optional)
Edible rose petals

Peel you pears with a vegetable peeler.

Now you need to cut the pears up, you need slices that are not thicker than a cm, I cut my pears into quarters first, then took the seeds out, then sliced them.  

Fry the pears in a large frying pan with 10-15g of the butter and the tsp of lemon juice on a medium heat. You'll need to turn the pears occasionally. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the pear is cooked through but still firm and looks a little like this:

Place your nuts in the baking dish you intend to use for your baklava, I used a ceramic rectangular baking dish, about the same size as a piece of A4 paper (20cmx30cm), it'll aslo need to be fairly deep based, at least 5 cm, preferably more.

Place these under the grill for 2 minutes, then stir to prevent burning. Grill for a further 3-5 minutes, until the nuts are starting to brown slightly but not burn.

In a food processor, combine the 2 tbsp sugar, 3 tsp rose water and cinnamon with a third of your nuts. Blitz for a couple of seconds, add another third of the nuts, blitz for another few seconds, then add the final third of nuts and blitz until the last pieces you added are broken down slightly (there are still chunks remaining, but not whole nuts). Putting the nuts in a little at a time in this ways ensures that you get a range of different nut textures.

Open your filo pastry, you'll need to lay it out flat and  cover it with a clean damp (NOT wet, wring it out WELL) tea-towel, to stop the filo drying out. 

Each time you take a new piece of pastry, fold back your tea towel, then replace it back on top of the pastry.

Preheat your oven to 175C.

Melt the remaining butter in the microwave, then grease your baking dish lightly with it. Place your first layer of filo pastry on the base of your dish, you might have some hanging over the edge, then butter what's sitting on the base of the dish, fold over the overhanging pastry and brush this with butter. Be fairly generous with your butter as seen here:

Lay some more pastry on top of this pastry, brush with brush with butter. For each new layer of filo pastry, brush butter over the top before adding the next layer. Continue this process until you have 12-16 layers of filo pastry, then scatter half of the nut mixture over the top of this top layer, spread out evenly and press down slightly:

Place a sheet of filo on top of this and repeat the butter, filo process for a further 7-10 layers of pastry (remember if you're folding the filo over this is creating a 2nd layer).

Then place you pears evenly across the top of your pastry:

Place a sheet of filo over the pears, repeat the butter, filo layering for 7-10 sheets of filo, then place the other half of the nut mixture on top of the pastry, distributing it evenly, press down slightly. 

Repeat the pastry, butter process for a further 10-12 layers of pastry. Butter your last layer of pastry quite liberally.

Then, with a sharp knife cut your baklava into diamond shapes (all the way through the baklava)... something like this (only probably better):

Pour some of the remaining butter over the top. These are quite large pieces of baklava, because I intend to serve them as a proper big dessert, you can make yours smaller if you like.

Bake your baklava for 55 minutes.

About 30 minutes into the baking of the baklava you should start making your syrup.

To do this you throw your water, sugar, vanilla pod (a split vanilla pod means you've sliced in down the middle, exposing the little seeds inside), 1 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 tbsp of rose water, the lemon zest and cardamom pod into a sauce pan and bring to the boil.

 Once it's been boiling for about 1 minute, lower to a simmer (constant low bubbling) and allow the liquid to reduce by half (should take about 15 minutes) at this point the syrup should be more viscose. Mix through the remaining rose water and lemon juice. Remove the cardamom pod and vanilla bean (and leom zest if you don't think it'll look nice on top of the baklava). 

Scrape the vanilla seeds out from the vanilla pod with a knife, this these through the syrup. Then set aside.

When you remove the baklava from the oven, pour the syrup evening and gently over the baklava immediately (while the pastry is still hot). Then allow your baklava to cool and set (this will take at least an hour).

You could serve it just as it is, in large sweet delicious chunks and encourage people to eat it with their hands while the syrup runs down their arms to their elbows in sweet deliciousness.

Or if you feel a bit fancy, serve it on a plate with a dollop of marscaponse, sprinkled with some edible rose petals.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did, please check out some other people's brilliant layered dessert ideas below...

Just so you know: it was lovely, not too sweet, and the pear made it something pretty special. I recommend it, and not just because I made it. I actually recommend it.

Until next time, over and out,

P.S (and instructions)

The SABH is brought to you by 84th & 3rdDelicieuxThe Hungry AustralianThe Capers of the Kitchen Crusader, and Dining With a Stud. This blog hop is open to all food bloggers. Please link-up any new, related posts published from the 19th to the 26th of March

IMPORTANT - Please read the instructions below, they explain how to link up and how to get the hop to appear on your post. If you aren’t sure of something leave a comment or send me an email at and I will help where I can.
  1. Click here for the Link Code – Grab the code and add it to the bottom of your Layers Upon Layers post, you will need to do this in HTML view.
    * Adding the code will create the thumbnail link list on your post so people can hop from one entry to the next!
    * REMEMBER – if you are on [not self hosted] the list will not show on your blog, please create a text link back to this post so others can hop through the entries!
  2. Grab the SABH Layers Upon Layers badge and add it to your post – you can get it at the top of this post or from the Announcement page.
    * Just right click on the image, ‘save as’, upload to your site and add it to your Layers post.
    * Link the badge or a line of text to the hostess post [that's this page here] so that others can view the instructions on how to join.
  3. Click here to Enter the Hop – This is the really important bit! The badge and thumbnail list are on your post, make sure to enter the hop so you appear in the list.
    * On the entry screen, please add the link to your Layers post [not your homepage].
    * When asked for ‘your name’ please enter your blog name, not your name.
    * When asked for a back link, link to this post.
    * Your entry will be submitted when you click ‘crop’ on your photo.
PLEASE NOTE – your linked post WILL NOT appear straight away in the blog hop thumbnail list. To combat spam this is a moderated hop. Your post will be visible in the list after approved. Entries are approved as soon as super-humanly possible.
If you are on Twitter use the #SABH to tell the world about your Layers post and follow us @SweetAdvBlogHop for new hop announcement and general deliciousness...


  1. This looks great! I haven't tried baklava for ages, but I'm thinking of a Greek theme dinner soon and will try your recipe!

    1. wow- I hope you like it! This baklava isn't as sweet as most baklava, but that's kind of what I liked about it. It worked well as dessert...

  2. It is a little early in the morning for dessert but I wouldn't say no to this! It looks delicious. What a lovely flavor combination you have created with the pear, hazelnut and vanilla syrup with rose. MMMMM Yum! Thank you for hosting and for the opportunity to join in your Sweet Adventures.

    1. you're welcome! Thanks for being a part of it!

  3. I have never in my life heard of a baklava made with orange juice! How strange. I made baklava the other day too - amazing!! It's my backup entry for the blog hop in case I don't think up anything better in the next couple of days :)

    1. do you use olive oil to make it vegan?

    2. No, I find olive oil a bit rich - I just use nuttelex. I love the idea of adding pears to it though - did it make it go soggy? Also - you forgot to mention how it tasted, was it amazing? :)

    3. tes, the pear was great, and not really any sog! Delicious

  4. I share your passion for baklava; when it's fresh and sweet and syrupy and crunchy it's a whole world of deliciousness. The pear and hazelnuts in your baklava sound wonderful. And thanks for hosting!

  5. Loved your baklava, really like the layer of pear and it was a nice balance of flavours and definitely not too sweet.

    1. Shucks! It was lovely to see you this weekend!

  6. This was AMAZING. I didn't really help, but man did I ever eat.

  7. How delicious! Love baklava... this one with rose, pear and hazelnut sounds quite lovely! Thanks for hosting too!

  8. Baklava! food of the Gods!
    Looks tremendous!
    T x

  9. I love this baklava version! The pear and hazelnut makes it even more appealing! Thanks for hosting this month's blog hop!

    1. Thanks! Yeah, the flavour combo makes a nice change from tradition...

  10. This looks great! I usually associate filo pastry with savoury dishes so I've never tried Baklava, but I think you might have converted me, and I happen to have some filo in the fridge...

  11. Great combo of flavours! Love the addition of the pears! Thanks for hosting :)

    1. no probs! Excapt for the 1am AEST panic fest! The pears added a sweetness and meant I could cut back (just a little) on the sugar added...

  12. Yay for being the host of this month's SABH! Though, I've only started joining last month, must say that it is so much fun to take part in! Thank you girls for being so awesome and engaging the community with this fun idea. Anyway, this recipe couldn't have come in better time because I've still got some Filo pastry that I need to use up in my fridge. Glad to hear you had a fantastic time with those two amazing bloggers =)

    1. Thanks, Winston, it's great to see new bloggers getting involved and catching the sweet adventures bug, it's pretty addictive, right?

  13. What a great combo! Thanks for hosting this month :)

  14. Who can resist a baklava? Looks very delicious. Thanks for hosting H :)

  15. Love your take on Baklava with the addition of pears and with the marscarpone cheese I am sure tastes really delicious, glad to be part of the blog hop! :)

  16. I'm totally not a huge baklava fan - but I could be persuaded with this one!

    I headed over today to link up, but so got my dates wrong by one week, but in case anyone feels like no-fail layer sponge cake for Thermomix (with a link to an awesome restaurant-worthy non-thermomix recipe as well) our very late entry is over at:

    Can't wait to try out some of these other entries - hello Turkish delight cheesecake and chocolate eclair cake. Yum!

  17. oh what a shame! Make sure you link up for the next one- it's always the 3rd week of the month...

  18. What a great combination of pear,hazelnut and all great idea will surely try it.Thanks for this great recipe.

  19. I'm thinking about making this for a dinner party next Friday night but will need to make it a few days before so it is ready in time... how many days do you think it keeps for? Thanks! Prue

  20. Probably 2-3. It might get a bit soggy through, you could try to bake the pastry stuff, keep it dry in a cake tin or something (not refrigerated), then pour over the hot syrup about an hour before?

  21. I have never tried eating Baklava and from the looks of it, I can tell its delicious. The problem is I am allergic to nuts, any suggestions on what is the best alternative to hazelnuts?

  22. good question, Luanne. you could try a seed mix (sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas) and see if that works, the flavour would obviously change but it could be quite delicious. I'll see if I can come up with any other ideas. There are also so Lebanese pastries that don't require nuts, so they might be worth looking into as well.