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    Pistachio & ricotta baklava

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    Pistachio & ricotta baklava

    By Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich

    We bake these in a traditional round shallow baking tin of about 22cm (also known as a baklava tray), but you can use any cake tin, even a square one, as long as the shells sit inside snugly. You can shape the whole amount and freeze half to bake later, or simply halve all the ingredients and use the rest of the pastry to make something else – but be sure to use a smaller tin if you do.

    • Preparation time: 1 hours
    • Cooking time: 15 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes 60 minutes 15 minutes

    Makes: 24

    Ingredients

    250g ricotta
    270g pack filo pastry sheets
    100g ghee, melted
    100g pistachios, very finely ground, plus extra to serve (optional)
    120g caster sugar
    1 tsp clear honey
    A few drops lemon juice (optional)

    Method

    1. Mix the ricotta with a pinch of fine sea salt. Peel away one sheet of filo and put it on the surface with the shorter side towards you (meanwhile cover the pack with a clean, damp tea towel). Brush the middle third of the pastry lightly with ghee. Crimp it with little pinching movements to create a centre of 5-6 pleats, flatten them a little with your fingers, then lift and flip so the crimp is lying face down. Brush the rest of the pastry with ghee and fold towards the pleated centre to make a long rectangle (see page 114 for step-by-step instructions).

    2. Evenly space 3 x 1 tsp ground pistachios along the pleated centre; top each with 1 tsp ricotta. Fold the pastry over to cover the mounds from one side and then the other, making a sausage. Carefully turn it and pinch tightly between the mounds and at the ends to seal. Cut into three individual shells, then press each end again and fit snugly in a 22cm cake tin. Repeat until all the filo and filling is used up. Brush any remaining ghee over the top.

    3. Preheat the oven to 220ºC, gas mark 7. Mix together the sugar, honey, lemon juice (if using) and 80ml water in a small pan. Put it on a high heat and bring to the boil, skimming off any foam; simmer for 1 minute, then set aside. Put the baklava in the oven; bake for 12-14 minutes until golden all over. Remove from the oven, put on a lipped baking tray, and pour over the syrup. Let it soak in before scattering with extra ground pistachios, if liked, and serving warm or at room temperature.

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