When it comes to baklava, I’m the biggest gourmet and critic. Most of the baklava you can buy here is not even remotely good enough for me. Since visiting Itihad Sweets in Aley (Lebanon), no other pastry can compete. This shop has spoiled me!
In fact, that’s also the reason why I don’t have a single baklava recipe on the blog yet. For years, I’ve been trying to decipher this recipe again and again to share it with you here (or to supply myself with it all year round…). Unfortunately, I haven’t succeeded yet. I’m not giving up!
When people think of baklava, they really do think of diabetes bombs swimming in sugar syrup and dripping with it. Much too sweet and hardly crunchy at all. Apart from sugar and orange blossom or rose water, there is hardly anything to taste. There is another way. Baklava in Lebanon is also sweet, but incomparably more subtle.
At the first bite, you’ll notice that it’s incredibly crunchy. You’ll taste all the nuts, the spices and flavours. And because the sweetness is really drastically subtle, you’ll want another – and another.
After a few failed attempts, I had to come up with something else. And that’s when I came up with the idea of developing my own recipe, which is really conjured up in no time at all – and eases my pain of not having found the right recipe yet.
I deliberately don’t use the filo pastry that is usually used for this and instead use standard puff pastry. If you use vegan puff pastry, you also have vegan baklava. This creates a slightly different mouthfeel, but it’s still delicious.
Even though it is no longer baklava in the true sense of the word, you will still immediately think of baklava when you taste it. Baklava as it should be. Wonderfully buttery dough, a filling of many nuts with cinnamon and cardamom and a few well-tuned drops of sugar syrup. Nimble hands have the little snails ready on the table after just 30 minutes. Everyone else needs 5 minutes longer 🙃
If you can’t resist a heavenly dessert, I recommend “Layali Lubnan – Lebanese Nights”.
Recipe for Baklava Snails
For the sugar syrup
- 60 g Sugar
- 50 ml Water
- 1 TSP Orange blossom water
- 1 TSP Lemon juice
- In a saucepan, mix the water and sugar together and bring to the boil.
- Simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Add the lemon juice and orange blossom water.
- Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 200 °C.
- Put the walnuts in a blender and chop them finely. Not too finely – small irregular pieces should still be visible.
- Mix the fine walnuts with 1.5 tbsp sugar, cinnamon and cardamom.
- Lay out the puff pastry and spread the walnut mixture and 1/4 of the pistachios on top. Leave about 2 cm on the sides. Drizzle the nut mixture with a few pinches of water (2 tbsp).
- Now carefully roll the puff pastry into a roll and cut approx. 2 cm wide slices from it.
- Lay out the slices on a baking tray lined with baking paper with sufficient space between them.
- Bake the baklava snails for approx. 15 minutes.
- After baking, baste the still hot snails with 2 tsp sugar syrup each and sprinkle with the remaining chopped pistachios.
- Leave to cool briefly before serving.