We love fruity baklavas. The first one we ever tasted was one made with plums at a small bakery in an off-the-beaten-track provincial small town - a revelation! Since then we have tried all sorts of fruit additions to our home-baked baklavas. One that we particularly crave in Autumn, when apple season is at its height, is this fusion apple pie and walnut baklava.
1 pack of ready-made filo pastry (we used Theos 250g filo pastry available at Tesco)
3-4 medium sized apples, cored and diced small (we used Braeburn apples as they are not too tart and not too sweet, with a crisp flesh that holds well together)
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
250g walnut pieces
50g brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the syrup:
150ml apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
In a bowl mix your apple pieces with the lemon juice, the brown sugar, oats, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
Prepare a glass or ceramic baking pan by very lightly oiling the bottom with a silicone pastry brush and your extra virgin olive oil. Layer 1 sheet of filo pastry to cover the entire bottom of the pan and hang over the one long side of it. Lightly oil and then layer a second filo sheet, this time to cover the entire bottom of the pan and hang over the other long side of it. Repeat with 4 more sheets. Once this process is finished, spoon about half your apple-baklava filling on the prepared sheets of filo pastry. Cover with one sheet of filo (centered with edges lightly overlapping on all sides), lightly oil and then cover with a second sheet of filo. Now it is time to add the remainder of your filling on top and spread out more or less evenly. To finish, cover with 4-5 more sheets of filo (lightly oiling in between) and once this is done, fold all the overlapping pieces around the edges nicely inwards and again, lightly oil on top. Now you need a sharp knife to cut portions through the sheets of filo in either a grid pattern or in a diagonal pattern like on our photo. This will help the baklava cook through properly.
Place this in the middle of your oven and bake for about 40 minutes.
While your fusion apple pie and walnut baklava is baking, gently heat the apple juice, cinnamon stick and honey in a pan, so that the honey can dissolve and mix well with the apple juice. Let cool.
Remove baking pan with baklava from the oven and place on a counter or table. While it is still warm, drizzle you syrup all over it, so it gets absorbed into the baklava.
Let cool until it reaches room temperature. We like it best served on its own, but you could also serve it along with some good vanilla ice cream.
This was the easy part. The harder part will be to have anything leftover for the next day ...
If you are lucky enough to have any leftovers, do not place the tray in the fridge overnight as this will ruin the texture. We lightly drape a clean kitchen towel over it, taking care that it does not touch on the baklava itself and we put the tray back in the cooled oven overnight. It keeps without any problems for 3 days - beyond that point we never had a baklava that was left uneaten. :)