Spiced nut Baklava with Coffee Syrup
I grew up in a small town in India in a home with my grandma, Uncle-Aunty, cousins and others. Yes, there were many people who have lived in our home, maybe because they needed a place to stay for a short term, or they were studying something and needed a bit of help. Now that I think about it, I really admire my elders for embracing everyone and treating them like family.
Our home was quite large, it probably started as a small home but grew bigger with the family. It had a small courtyard which was one of my favorite spots in the house. The courtyard was surrounded by different parts of the house on three sides and the fourth side was a wall between the courtyard and the street. The courtyard had a giant wooden door, on either side of which was small little enclave where my grandma would light lamps in. One part of the house was used by my Grandfathers brother. He was a professor and a very brilliant one, he would hold his classes where he taught kids for free in that part of the house. Kaka Ajoba, as I fondly called him, also taught me how to pick vegetables in the market.
He was the first one to have TV in the house, our main house did not have until much later. So come Sunday all the kids would be at Kaka Ajoba’s watching all the serials like ‘Ek, Don, Teen, Chaar’ or ‘Vikram and Vetaal’.
Malgudi Days was one of those serials that we were allowed to watch. The minute this music came on, no matter where in the house we were, we would run to Kaka Ajoba’s and plop ourselves in front of the TV. The little Swami had become a part of our lives and that Malgudi Train station made us believe that the town was real. There was something really genuine and pure about that serial, just like my childhood, well done R.K. Narayan!
When I saw the Malgudi Days coffee, it immediately transported me back to those days, and more I read about it I felt a connection. Its a company started by a Mom and Son duo in the quest of getting the best filter coffee in Australia. Their coffees come from the majestic slopes of the Bababudan highlands of South India, situated in a shaded region 4,000 feet above sea level. The coffee is roasted in Sydney and brings you back to the streets of South India where you can smell a beautiful aroma of coffee as you enjoy your ‘tiffin’ in the morning .
Malgudi day contacted me and sent me their products. When I received my package I was very surprised, not only had they sent me boxes of coffee to try but also a set of tumblers along with a south Indian coffee filter to make the coffee with. The quality of the stainless steel is excellent and so was the coffee.
You can check out their products here https://www.malgudidays.com.au/
You guys might know that I am a tea addict, a cup of good old Indian chai is an absolute necessity to start my day right. However when I like to drink something other than tea, my favorite is the good old Indian Filter coffee. I of course enjoyed Malgudi Days’s coffee with my Paniyarams but also decided to make something that not only can be enjoyed with the coffee but also uses coffee in the recipe.
When I talk about my childhood memories I think of my paternal grandmother who used to drink only coffee, she never had tea. She would make a coffee using coffee grounds that were freshly ground in a local shop called Metro. She would always add a pinch of nutmeg in her coffee. This type of coffee was also normally served at ‘Haldi Kumkum’ which is a social women’s gathering, in fact it was also called ‘Haldi Kukuwachi coffee’ in Marathi. So when I had the Turkish coffee, which often has cardamom and nutmeg, I was quite surprised and wondered how my grandma must have learnt about this Turkish coffee when there was no internet.
I decided to draw inspiration from the Turkish coffee and my grandma to make this dessert using Malgudi Days’s coffee, it somehow resonated with the theme of nostalgia and coffee.
Baklava which is a quintessential dessert from countries like Lebanon, Greece, Egypt and Turkey and each one of them claims that it originated there. I thought the Turkish version which does not use any orange blossom or honey would pair well with the coffee and the Indian flavors that I wanted to incorporate.
I have not only added some nutmeg to the nut mixture along with the cardamom in the syrup, the syrup also has the coffee decoction I made with Malgudi Days traditional filter coffee blend.
Spiced Nut Baklava with Filter coffee syrup
A dessert Pastry filled with a spiced nut mixture and drizzle with a coffee syrup, this is a treat to be enjoyed on it own or with a cup of good coffee.
- 6 Tbsp Unsalted butter melted
- 1/2 Cup Unsalted raw pistachio
- 1/2 cup Unsalted, raw Cashews
- 6 tbsp packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 Tsp Ground nutmeg
- 1/2 Tsp Kosher salt
- 1/2 Cup Granulated sugar
- 1/4 Cup Water
- 1/3 Cup Strong decoction of Filter coffee
- 1 Tsp Ground cardamom
- 1-2 Cardamom pods
- 3 6-by-13-inch sheets phyllo
Make the filling
Heat the oven to 350°. In a food processor, combine 6 tablespoons butter with the cashews, Brown Sugar, nutmeg, and salt and chop it finely.
In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, add water add the cardamom powder and the pod skin. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Continue to boil for a min. Remove the syrup from the heat, add coffee decoction and let cool; discard the cardamom skins.
Grease an 8-inch square metal baking pan with some of the remaining melted butter.
On a board, lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough so the short sides are parallel to you. Brush the sheet with some butter and place the second sheet over the first. Brush the phyllo with butter and cover with the third sheet. Brush the last phyllo sheet with butter.
Cut the phyllo stack in half lengthwise, and then cut each rectangle crosswise into 5 equal small rectangles. Put about 2 tablespoons of the nut filling in a line along the long edge of 1 of the phyllo rectangles. Roll the phyllo around the filling into a roll and place the roll in the prepared baking pan. Repeat with the remaining filling and phyllo rectangles to make 9 more rolls. Make sure the rolls fit snugly in the pan so they don't open while baking and the filling does not ooze out
Brush the remaining melted butter over the top of the rolls and bake until light brown and crisp, about 35 minutes.
Remove the baking pan from the oven, pour the cooled coffee syrup over the baklava logs, and let cool to room temperature.
Turn each log over and let stand for 15 minutes to allow the syrup distribute itself through the rolls
Baklava is made using various nuts, the more common ones are walnuts, pistachio, however you can use any nuts.
You can make any shapes you would like, you can make a huge tray and cut into diamond or squares etc.
Lebanese version of Baklava uses orange blossom water, Greek version uses honey instead of sugar syrup etc, but all the Baklava tastes amazing