Fruit and pistachio baklava

    1 hour 5 min

    Here is an updated version of the traditional Greek dessert, made with a cinnamon-spiced filling of dried dates, dried mango and pistachio nuts, layered with filo pastry. Although this baklava uses less fat and honey than usual, it is most definitely a special sweet snack and sure to be a winner.

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    Serves: 20 

    • 55 g (2 oz) butter
    • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
    • 85 g (3 oz) dried mango, finely chopped
    • 85 g (3 oz) stoned dried dates, finely chopped
    • 115 g (4 oz) pistachio nuts, finely chopped
    • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
    • 8 tbsp clear honey
    • 20 sheets filo pastry, about 18 × 30 cm (7 × 12 in) each
    • 4 tbsp orange juice

    Prep:40min  ›  Cook:25min  ›  Ready in:1hr5min 

    1. Gently heat the butter and oil in a small saucepan until melted and blended. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside. Mix together the dried mango, dates, pistachios, cinnamon and 4 tbsp of the honey in a bowl. Set aside.
    2. Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F, gas mark 7). Lightly grease a shallow 18 × 28 cm (7 × 11 in) baking tin with a little of the melted butter and oil mixture.
    3. Place one sheet of filo pastry in the bottom of the tin, allowing the pastry to come up the sides of the tin if necessary, and brush sparingly with the butter and oil mixture. Layer in 4 more sheets of filo, brushing each one lightly with the mix of oil and butter. Spread with one-third of the fruit mixture.
    4. Repeat the layering of filo sheets and fruit mixture 2 more times. Top this final layer of fruit filling with the remaining 5 sheets of filo, brushing each with a little of the melted butter and oil. Trim the edges of the pastry to fit the tin.
    5. Mark the surface of the top pastry layer into 20 squares using the tip of a sharp knife. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4). Bake for a further 10–15 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden brown.
    6. Meanwhile, gently warm the remaining 4 tbsp honey with the orange juice in a small saucepan until blended, stirring constantly.
    7. When the pastry has finished baking, remove it from the oven and pour the honey and orange mixture evenly over the surface. Leave it to cool in the tin. When cold, cut into the marked squares for serving.

    Each square provides

    E, copper

    Some more ideas

    *To make peach or apricot and pecan baklava, use 170 g (6 oz) chopped ready-to-eat dried peaches or apricots in place of the dates and mango, and chopped pecan nuts (or hazelnuts) in place of some or all of the pistachios. Spice with ground ginger, nutmeg or mixed spice instead of cinnamon.
    *For pear, hazelnut and almond baklava, make the filling by mixing together 55 g (2 oz) finely chopped hazelnuts, 55 g (2 oz) finely chopped almonds, 85 g (3 oz) chopped ready-to-eat dried pears, 85 g (3 oz) sultanas, 1½ tsp ground mixed spice and the finely grated zest of 1 small lemon.

    Plus points

    *Filo pastry is a lower-fat alternative to shortcrust and puff pastries. In 100 g (3½ oz) of filo pastry there are 2 g fat and 275 kcals, whereas the same weight of shortcrust pastry contains 29 g fat and 449 kcals.
    *The sweetness of fruit is concentrated in its dried form, so no additional sugar is needed in the filling for this pastry. Dried fruit is also a significant source of dietary fibre.

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