Fusion food: Easter Simnel Baklava

Try something different this Easter with Ellie’s simnel baklava recipe

Photo Credit: Ellie Davis

Photo Credit: Ellie Davis

Simnel Baklava

Makes 16 bite-size pieces

This is the ultimate rich and sticky dessert. A traditional baklava is infused with all the traditional Easter flavours of simnel cake, right down to its marzipan decoration. It’s so easy to put together and looks really impressive.

Ingredients:

Baklava:

100g almonds
60g sultanas
25g mixed peel
25g glace cherries
1/2 tsp mixed spice
zest of 1/2 orange
zest of 1/2 lemon
4 tsp apricot jam
50 g melted butter
270 g pack filo pastry

Citrus Syrup:

juice of 1/2 orange
juice ½ lemon
140 g caster sugar
90 ml water

Topping:

40g marzipan

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Place the almonds in a food processor and process until they are roughly chopped. Tip them into a large mixing bowl and add the sultanas, mixed peel, cherries, mixed spice and the zest from the orange and lemon. Mix everything together.
3. Cut the filo pastry into pieces large enough to fit a 10x20cm baking tin.
4. Grease the baking tin and lay a sheet of filo pastry in the tin. Brush it with butter. Repeat with a further 8 sheets of the pastry, laying sheets on top of each other and brushing with butter each time.
5. Sprinkle half of the fruit and nut mixture over the pastry.
6. Lay one sheet of pastry on top of this and brush with 4 tsp of apricot jam. Cover with another layer of filo pastry and the remaining fruit and nut mixture.
7. Cover this with the remaining pastry, brushing each with butter. Brush the final sheet with a final teaspoon of apricot jam (not butter), then press it down to compact the nuts and pastry.
8. Cut lines 5cm apart diagonally to create diamond shapes, ensuring that you cut right to the bottom of the tin.
9. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.
10. While the baklava is baking, place the juice from half the lemon and half of the orange, caster sugar and water into a heavy-bottomed pan. Simmer gently for about 30 minutes until reduced down into a syrup.
11. Leave to cool slightly then pour over the baked baklava. Use a knife to go over the lines again if necessary to let the syrup fully sink in.
12. Cover with clingfilm and leave to cool completely for a minimum of 2 hours, ideally overnight.
13. Roll out 16 marzipan balls about the size of a marble. Place them under a hot grill for a minute but no longer as marzipan burns easily.
14. Cut along the lines in the baklava again and lift out the individual pieces.
15. Top each one with marzipan to serve.

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