Fruit and Pistachio Baklava
Try this update on the traditional Greek pastries, made with a cinnamon-spiced filling of dried dates, dried mango, and pistachio nuts, layered with phyllo pastry. Although this version uses less fat and honey than usual, it’s sure to be a winner.
Number of servings : 20 squares
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 20 to 25 minutes
Type of meal : | Desserts | Desserts
Special diet : | Low calorie
- Slowly melt the butter with the oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until blended. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside. Mix together the dried mango, dates, pistachios, cinnamon and 4 tablespoons of the honey in a bowl; set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 220ºC. Lightly grease a shallow 18 x 28 cm baking pan with a little of the melted butter and oil mixture.
- Place one sheet of phyllo pastry dough in the bottom of the baking pan, leaving the dough to come up the sides of the pan, if necessary, and brush sparingly with the butter and oil mixture. Layer 4 more sheets of dough, brushing each one lightly with the oil and butter mixture. Spread the top sheet with one-third of the fruit and honey mixture.
- Repeat the layering of dough and fruit mixture 2 more times. Top this final layer of fruit filling with the remaining 5 sheets of dough, brushing each with a little of the melted butter and oil. Trim the edges of the dough to fit the pan.
- Using the tip of a sharp knife, mark the surface of the top dough layer into 20 squares. Bake 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180ºC. Bake until the pastry is crisp and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, gently warm the remaining 4 tablespoons honey with the orange juice in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until blended.
- When the pastry has baked, remove it from the oven and pour the honey-and-orange mixture evenly over the surface. Leave it to cool in the pan. When cold, cut into the marked squares for serving.
- To make peach or apricot and pecan baklava, use 170 g (6 oz) chopped ready-to-eat dried peaches or apricots in place of the dates and mango, and chopped pecan nuts (or hazelnuts) in place of some or all of the pistachios. Spice with ground ginger, nutmeg or mixed spice instead of cinnamon.
- For pear, hazelnut and almond baklava, make the filling by mixing together 55 g (2 oz) finely chopped hazelnuts, 55 g (2 oz) finely chopped almonds, 85 g (3 oz) chopped ready-to-eat dried pears, 85 g (3 oz) sultanas, 1d tsp ground mixed spice and the finely grated zest of 1 small lemon.
- Filo pastry is a lower-fat alternative to shortcrust and puff pastries. In 100 g (3d oz) of filo pastry there are 2 g fat and 275 kcals, whereas the same weight of shortcrust pastry contains 29 g fat and 449 kcals.
- The sweetness of fruit is concentrated in its dried form, so no additional sugar is needed in the filling for this pastry. Dried fruit is also a significant source of dietary fibre.