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Crispy Baklava and Ice Cream

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Ortal Nahum – @ortal_nahum10
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What could possibly be a better combination than fresh, super crispy baklava and ice cream.

EQUIPMENT

INGREDIENTS
 

Filling:

Syrup:

Serving:

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Cut the phyllo sheets to fit the size of the baking dish. Brush the baking dish with butter, place one sheet, brush the sheet with butter, and place another sheet on top. Repeat this process 7 times (7 sheets).
  • In a bowl, mix the nuts, pistachios, cinnamon, brown sugar, and honey. Spread the filling mixture over the phyllo sheets arranged in the baking dish, place another phyllo sheet on top, brush with butter, and repeat the process 7 times (7 sheets). Brush the remaining butter over everything, then cut into triangles with a sharp knife.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 340°F (170°C) for 30-35 minutes. Meanwhile, boil all the syrup ingredients in a saucepan and let it cool.
  • Pour the syrup over the hot baklava. Sprinkle more ground pistachios on top. Once the baklava has cooled slightly, place a scoop of ice cream in the middle and enjoy.

MY NOTES

Crispy baklava and ice cream recipe
Credit: Ortal Nahum

What types of nuts should I use for the filling?

For the filling in baklava, you can use a variety of nuts based on personal preference. Traditionally, a mix of walnuts, pistachios, and almonds is popular. Walnuts provide a rich, earthy flavor, while pistachios add a distinctive, slightly sweet taste. Almonds contribute a mild, nutty flavor and a crunchy texture. Feel free to experiment with hazelnuts or pecans for a unique twist. Ensure the nuts are coarsely ground to maintain a delightful texture in each bite.

Crispy baklava and ice cream recipe
Credit: Ortal Nahum

What is the best way to store leftover baklava?

To store leftover baklava, ensure it cools completely before storing to maintain its texture and flavor. Place the baklava in an airtight container, separating layers with parchment or wax paper to prevent sticking. Store at room temperature for up to 5 days, keeping it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. For longer storage, refrigerate for up to two weeks; note that refrigeration can make the baklava less crisp. Alternatively, freeze baklava for up to three months by wrapping individual pieces tightly in plastic wrap and placing them in a freezer-safe container. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

Crispy baklava and ice cream recipe
Credit: Ortal Nahum

How long does baklava stay fresh?

Baklava stays fresh for up to 5 days when stored in an airtight container at room temperature in a cool, dry place. If refrigerated, it can last up to 2 weeks, though it may lose some of its crispness. For longer storage, baklava can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap individual pieces tightly in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe container. Thaw at room temperature before serving to retain the best texture and flavor.

How to prevent the phyllo sheets from drying out while working

To prevent phyllo sheets from drying out while working, keep them covered with a slightly damp kitchen towel or paper towel. Only uncover the sheets as needed, working quickly to prevent prolonged exposure to air. Alternatively, you can brush each sheet lightly with melted butter or oil as you layer them, which helps keep them moist. Store unused sheets promptly in their original packaging, tightly sealed, to preserve freshness for future use.

Crispy baklava and ice cream recipe
Credit: Ortal Nahum

Can I make this crispy baklava and ice cream ahead of time?

Yes, you can make baklava ahead of time and add the ice cream when you serve it. Prepare and bake the baklava as directed, then let it cool completely. Store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. For longer storage, refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months, wrapping individual pieces tightly in plastic wrap and placing them in a freezer-safe container. Thaw frozen baklava at room temperature before serving. The flavors often improve with time as they meld together.

Crispy baklava and ice cream recipe
Credit: Ortal Nahum

Substitute for phyllo dough

As a substitute for phyllo dough in baklava, you can use puff pastry, though it will result in a different texture and taste. Puff pastry is thicker and puffier, providing a richer, more buttery flavor. Alternatively, you can make homemade phyllo dough, which requires rolling out thin sheets of dough. Some recipes also suggest using spring roll wrappers for a similar thin and crispy texture. However, keep in mind that these substitutes will alter the traditional characteristics of baklava.

Crispy baklava and ice cream recipe
Credit: Ortal Nahum

The best way to cut baklava without tearing the sheets

To cut baklava without tearing the phyllo sheets, ensure the phyllo dough is properly thawed and at room temperature. Use a sharp, thin knife to make clean cuts. Before baking, lightly score the top layers of phyllo with the knife to outline your desired shapes, such as squares or diamonds. Press gently but firmly, cutting through the layers gradually rather than all at once. Apply even pressure to avoid tearing. Chilling the assembled baklava in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before cutting can also help maintain the structure. Finally, cut slowly and carefully to achieve neat, even pieces.

Crispy baklava and ice cream recipe
Credit: Ortal Nahum

How can I make the baklava extra crispy?

To make baklava extra crispy, ensure the phyllo sheets are dry and at room temperature before use. Brush each layer generously with melted butter to create a barrier that prevents sogginess. Bake the baklava in a preheated oven at 340°F (170°C) until it turns golden brown, usually 30-35 minutes. After baking, immediately pour cooled syrup over the hot baklava to lock in crispiness. Avoid covering the baklava during storage to maintain its crunchy texture.

How do I know when the baklava is fully baked?

To determine when baklava is fully baked, look for a golden brown color on top and around the edges of the pastry. The syrup should be absorbed, making the layers moist and sticky without being soggy. Test by inserting a knife into the center; if it comes out clean and the layers feel crisp, it’s done. Allow

Crispy baklava and ice cream recipe
Credit: Ortal Nahum

Can I reduce the amount of sugar in the syrup?

Yes, you can reduce the amount of sugar in the syrup to make baklava less sweet. Decrease the sugar to your taste, but maintain a balance with the other ingredients to ensure proper consistency. You can also substitute part of the sugar with honey or a natural sweetener like agave syrup. Keep in mind that reducing sugar will affect the syrup’s viscosity and the overall sweetness of the baklava. Adjust other flavors, such as adding a bit more lemon juice, to compensate.

Variations or additional ingredients to add to the filling

  1. Dried Fruits: Incorporate finely chopped dried apricots, dates, or figs for a sweet, chewy texture.
  2. Citrus Zest: Grate orange or lemon zest into the nut mixture to add a citrusy brightness.
  3. Honey or Agave: Drizzle a bit of honey or agave syrup over the nut layers before assembling for extra sweetness and moisture.
  4. Flavor Extracts: Enhance the filling with a dash of vanilla or almond extract for a subtle, aromatic note.
  5. Chocolate: Sprinkle finely chopped dark chocolate or use chocolate chips between the layers for a decadent twist.
Crispy baklava and ice cream recipe
Credit: Ortal Nahum

Make a vegan version of this crispy baklava and ice cream

Yes, it is possible to make a vegan version of baklava. Substitute the butter with a plant-based alternative, such as vegan margarine or coconut oil, for brushing the phyllo sheets. Ensure the phyllo dough you use is vegan, as some brands contain dairy. Replace honey in the filling and syrup with agave syrup, maple syrup, or a similar vegan sweetener. Use the same process for layering, filling, and baking. For the ice cream, replace it with a dairy free version (we recommend it to be oat-based). The result will be a delicious vegan baklava that retains the traditional flavors and textures, allowing those following a vegan diet to enjoy this classic dessert.

Credit: Ortal Nahum

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