Baklava Ice Cream Sandwich

Ramadan Recipes
by HGAT | 08/05/2020
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So this post was supposed to be a recipe for a sweet and creamy kunefe but thanks to my supermarket delivery, who not only substituted my order of three broccolis for 8 pairs of corn on the cobs, I had whole phyllo pastry delivered instead of shredded kataifi/phyllo pastry. 

I racked my brain as to what I could possibly make, without having to sit there and shred the pastry finely, and I could only narrow it down to baklava. And for the millions of corn that I have, let’s just say I’m still eating them to this day and will be for the next 3 months.

Making baklava isn’t complicated but tedious, especially if you’re clarifying the butter. From the phyllo sheets being extremely delicate and drying out super quickly to the numerous pans and utensils being used, it’s certainly not a straightforward dish. HOWEVER after you lay down the first phyllo sheet, it is a breeze and the reward is worth the work. 

I had to trim my sheets down as my phyllo came as 4 large sheets and I only had a square pan available, but you can make any size and shaped baklava. Also don’t fret if you tear any sheets when handling them, just use those in the middle layers and save the best looking ones for the top and bottom layers. 

Once the baklava is cooked, you’ll immediately pour over the sweet sugar syrup and sprinkle with pistachios. Now it’s the hard part. You have to wait at least 8 hours before you can eat these fresh baklavas. This is so that the pastry can absorb all the sugar syrup that it was doused in. 

Finally, the baklava is ready to be devoured. Carefully lift the top or middle layers off and place your mound of ice cream. Close the baklava and tuck in i-m-m-e-d-i-a-t-e-l-y.

BAKLAVA RECIPE 

Recipe adapted from Cleobuttera.com

INGREDIENTS

350g sugar
180ml water
½ – 1 tsp of lemon juice
½ – 1 tbsp of orange blossom or rose water, depending on how strong you like the flavour. 
500g phyllo pastry, trimmed to 20 sheets * see notes
300g ghee or 400g clarified unsalted butter ** see notes
500g mixed nuts, crushed *** see notes

NOTES

* Defrost the phyllo pastry in the fridge overnight and keep it refrigerated until it is time to use them. Keep them between damp towels to ensure they don’t dry out. 

** You can make clarified butter by melting butter in a pan over low heat. Skim the foam of the top and discard. You’ll be left with a rich yellow liquid with white milk solids at the bottom. Sieve the mixture so that you’re left with pure clarified butter. 

*** You can use a combination of pistachios, walnuts, pecans or almonds. Use whatever nuts you have on hand and pulse lightly in a food processor.  

METHOD

  1. In a pan over low heat, add sugar, water, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Stir every so often until the mixture becomes clear. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and stir in the orange blossom/rose water. Transfer into another heatproof vessel and leave to cool to room temperature. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C for fan-assisted. 
  3. Trim your phyllo pastry to the size of your baking dish – this can be round, square, rectangle etc – and place your sheets between two damp towels to stop them from drying out. 
  4. Brush your pan with clarified butter/ghee and lay down your first sheet of phyllo. Butter this sheet and place another phylo on top. Repeat 5-7 times so that there are 6-8 sheets on the bottom level. 
  5. Spread your crushed nuts generously on top and then place a layer of phyllo on top of this. 
  6. Repeat the butter-phyllo-butter steps 3-5 times. 
  7. Spread the crushed nuts again and place a layer of phyllo on top. 
  8. Repeat the butter-phyllo-butter steps 3-5 times. 
  9. Spread the remaining nuts and top with pastry. Repeat the butter-phyllo-butter steps 5-7 times so that there are 6-8 sheets on top but do not brush the final layer with butter.
  10. Press down on the pastry layers to release any air bubbles and cut into diamonds. 
  11. Brush the final layer with the butter and place the tray in the oven
  12. Cook for 1.5-2 hours until the pastry is golden. 
  13. Remove from the oven and immediately pour over the cooled-down sugar syrup that you had made earlier. Try to make sure the syrup reaches every gap between the baklavas. You do not need to use all of the syrup. 
  14. Sprinkle crushed pistachios on top to garnish. 
  15. Leave to rest for 8-12 hours before serving. 
  16. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and left it soften slightly so that it is easy to mould. Carefully remove the top bunch of pastry layers and place the ice cream, before sandwiching it closed again. Eat immediately!
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