Custard Baklava with Mandarin Syrup
3 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
⅓ cup caster sugar
375g filo pastry
½ cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
½ cup fine semolina
2 cups pure cream
1 cup mandarin juice
Rind from 1 mandarin, cut into 6 to 8 strips
1½ cups caster sugar
¾ cup honey, to serve
Preheat oven to 180˚C. Brush a 20cm x 30cm x 5cm-deep slice pan with melted butter.
To make custard, use electric beaters to beat eggs, sugar and vanilla in a small bowl until pale and creamy. Gradually beat in semolina and warm cream. Return to a low heat. Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until thickened. Set aside.
Place walnuts, pistachios, cinnamon, nutmeg and caster sugar in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.
Place filo on a clean bench. Cover with first a dry, then a damp, tea towel. Work with one sheet at a time, brush 10 filo sheets with melted butter and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons nut mixture. Fold over to enclose mixture and form a rough square. Brush with melted butter. Arrange in pan, pressing filo on 3 sides. Repeat buttering, sprinkling with nuts and layering with another 9 layers of filo. All pan sides should be lined with filo to seal custard mixture. Spoon over custard mixture. Even out surface. Repeat previous step with another 6 sheets pastry, butter and nuts, folding in sides of pastry to fit. Brush and layer last 2 filo sheets without nuts and arrange in pan. Brush top generously with melted butter. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Cut through top pastry layer into 4cm diamond shapes. Cook in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until golden and cooked through.
To make mandarin syrup, place juice, rind, ½ water and sugar in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Cook, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Gentle boil for 20 minutes or till golden and syrupy. Pour over hot baklava. Stand for 1 hour. Cut diamond shapes through to base. Drizzle with honey and serve.
Smart Tip: If you’re somehow able to resist eating this Turkish sweet treat all in one go, baklava will keep refrigerated in a sealed container for 2 days.