It’s been a while since I delved into recipe creation. The winter has a way of sending me into cooking hibernation. Now that the days are getting longer and I have taken a bit of a reprieve from cooking, I feel refreshed and ready to go.
Dessert is my first love. It is a pleasure in life that I never avoid.
I revel in creating desserts that utilize simple and natural ingredients. It is a way to honour both my needs and desires. It goes without saying that dessert brings a smile to my face.
When we lived in Edmonton, I was a frequent visitor to the European Bakery on 135th Avenue and 113 Street where the tantalizing sights and smells of phyllo pastry, syrupy gooeyness, nuts and spices warmed my dessert loving heart.
It has been a long time since I have encountered Baklava so the situation called for DIY time.
I have made this recipe vegan (all plant-based). A light olive oil makes the pastry light and flaky though butter does produce a more delicate pastry.
I did not put any sugar or sweetener into the filling itself. I found the sweetness of the syrup that is poured over the baked pastry sweet enough without being cloying. I found that the pinch of nutmeg in the filling provides an adequate ‘sweetness’. If you feel like you need to add some sugar to the filling, a 1/4 cup of organic cane sugar or coconut sugar should do the trick.
For those of you who are gluten free, here is a recipe from my go-to gluten free blog Gluten Free on a Shoestring for Gluten Free Phyllo Pastry. Nicole has worked hard to develop an excellent recipe and for that I am thankful.
You can also request that your local health food store bring in pre-made gluten free phyllo pasty or use gluten free ‘puff’ pastry which is more readily available with very similar results.
If you don’t have lemon rind, cinnamon sticks or cream of tartar on hand, do without. Don’t let perfection get in the way of greatness.
2 cups mixed nuts, chopped (walnuts, cashews, pistachios)
1 tsp cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp mixed spice (pinch of nutmeg, cardamom)
pinch of cloves, ground
10 sheets of phyllo pastry
light olive oil for brushing
1 cup real maple syrup
2 tablespoons organic coconut nectar
pinch of cream of tartar
1 cup water
2 strips of lemon rind (use a peeler)
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves, whole
- Combine Nuts, spice and sugar (optional) and process in a food processor until you nuts are chopped up. Cut each phyllo sheet in to 3 even strips along the width.
- Brush each sheet with oil. Place approximately 1 heaped tablespoon on the end closest to you. Fold pastry over the filling and then roll up to make a cigar.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 C). Place cigars on a greased baking sheet. Brush with oil and bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden.
- For the Syrup: combine maple syrup, coconut nectar, cream of tartar and water over medium heat, stirring constantly. Add lemon rind and spices. Bring mixture to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Do not stir once it starts boiling.
- Pour syrup over baked phyllo cigars and garnish with finely chopped nuts or ground cinnamon. Can be server hot or cold.