The classic Middle Eastern tea-time treat of layers of chopped nuts interlaced with flaky filo pastry and finished off in sugar syrup. The lemon helps to cut through the sweetness but I’m not going to pretend that this is anything other than very indulgent. Best served with tea or coffee.
Preheat the oven to 160ºC/Gas 3.
Put the pistachios, caster sugar and lemon zest into a bowl and mix together.
Select a baking tray the size of your halved filo sheets. Brush it with melted butter and place a halved sheet of filo on it. Brush this with butter, sprinkle with some of the pistachio mixture, and continue layering the sheets in the same way until you have used all 32 of them.
Using a sharp knife, cut the layered pastry into bite-sized squares. Bake for 30–40 minutes, until golden and crisp on top.
Meanwhile, make the syrup. Put the sugar, lemon zest and juice into a small saucepan with 200ml water and bring to the boil, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Simmer for 7–10 minutes, until the syrup has slightly thickened. Set aside to cool.
When the baklava are ready and piping hot, place the tray on a work surface and pour the syrup over them, making sure it penetrates every bit of them and runs between the gaps. Leave for at least 12 hours before eating. The baklava can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.
Recipes extracted from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Home Cooking by Gordon Ramsay, published by Hodder & Stoughton.
Photography © Con Poulos
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