BitterSweet

Sweet Musings with a Bitterly Sharp Wit

Layered in Sweet History

20 Comments

Towering stacks of gossamer-thin pastry, impossibly crisp and glistening with sticky syrup gleam from within bakery cases across the globe. Though typically full to bursting with crisp walnuts and warm spices, baklava is no stranger to alternative approaches. Considering the fact that it’s been at the mercy of creative bakers for centuries, this well-loved treat has managed to maintain its core identity far better than most, thanks in no small part to its sheer simplicity.

All you need is phyllo dough and a bit of patience to bring any dessert-lover to their knees. Swapping in pistachios for the filling is my favorite twist, inspired by my dad’s equal distaste for walnuts and love for pistachios, but this is a new rendition that he can endorse as well. Toasted coconut adds tropical flare without venturing too far into the dangerous waters of “fusion” cuisine. Sweet cinnamon and floral syrup closely reminiscent of honey bring familiar flavors back into the fold, sure to satisfy traditionalist and more adventurous eaters alike.

Coconut Baklava

Syrup:

1 Cup Water
1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/2 Teaspoon Orange Blossom Water
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Filling:

4 Cups Shredded, Unsweetened Coconut, Toasted
3/4 Cup Raw Cashew Pieces, Roughly Chopped
1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar or Turbinado Sugar
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Salt

For Assembly:

1 (1-Pound) Box Frozen Phyllo Dough, Thawed
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil, Melted

Make sure that your phyllo dough is completely before beginning. Keep it covered with a lightly moistened kitchen towel to prevent it from drying out.

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

Prepare the syrup first so it has time to cool. This can also be made well in advance, as it will keep almost indefinitely in an air-tight container. Simply combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook just until the sugar has fully dissolved; set aside.

Moving on to the filling, briefly pulse the coconut and cashews in your blender or food processor to achieve a coarse grind while still allowing the mixture to remain very rough and chunky. Transfer to a large bowl and mix with the sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

Cut (or tear) the phyllo so that it will fit into the bottom of your prepared baking pan. It is okay if the pieces overlap a little. Begin by laying down one sheet and brushing the pastry with melted coconut oil. Add another sheet of phyllo once the first is lightly but thoroughly coated. Brush the second sheet with coconut oil. Repeat these steps up to 4 times to create a phyllo layer; the exact number is up to you. After applying the coconut oil to the last sheet in your first phyllo layer, sprinkle it evenly with the nut mixture. Repeat the entire process to create a second layer of phyllo, followed by another layer of the nuts. Continue this pattern until you run out of the dry ingredients, ending with layers of pastry on top.

Before placing the baklava in the oven, pre-cut the little triangles, or, if you are not feeling so handy with a knife, little squares are just fine. Bake for 70 to 80 minutes, until golden brown and slightly crispy-looking, but watch to make sure that the edges do not burn. Cover the pan with foil to prevent overcooking, if needed.

Pour the warm syrup all over over the baked pastry. It may look excessive, but it will all soak in over time. Allow the baklava to cool for at least an hour or two before slicing and serving.

Makes 24 Triangles

Printable Recipe

Advertisements

Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

20 thoughts on “Layered in Sweet History

  1. This sounds delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. i remember when I was little, I was over at a friends house. We went to her neighbors house to see what she was up to. She was making baklava and was kind enough to let us watch the process. At the time, I was unfamiliar with it, but now I love it. I have had both the good and the bad lol. I love this idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I adore middle eastern pastries. This is SO going to add to my waistline in the immediate future Ms Hannah. Delish! :)

    Like

  4. I love baklava! I had first tried it at a middle Eastern family owned restaurant in Ohio. It’s so flaky and delicious. Not sure I can pull off attempting to make it myself😁

    Like

  5. I like your take on a classic recipe, brave of you! :)

    Like

  6. There are many types of baklava, and one is Bosnian. When Ottoman empire came to the Balkans, they brought their culture, so baklava has become one of the most famous Bosnian delicaties. And I am really glad you posted this recipe. Baklava represents the history with every bite, as you have mentioned above.

    Like

  7. Pingback: Coconut Baklava - Yum Goggle

  8. yummmmm! and sweet history from Hannah!!

    Like

  9. I shall definitely try this. It sounds great.

    Like

  10. Pingback: Coconut Cashew Baklava ~Bittersweet – Once Upon a Spice

  11. Wow, this looks fantastic! Love the flavors and never worked with Orange Blossom Water – thanks!

    Like

  12. Thanks for the printable version…never heard of adding coconut but sounds great. I usually use walnuts but cashews sound great…..must try.

    Like

  13. Oh yes, a dessert that’s easy enough for me to actually attempt to make. Love the addition of coconut. :-)

    Like

  14. Baklava is one of my favorite desserts not only because the flavor and texture is on point… because of its simplicity… and usage of honey :)

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s