Folded Pistachio Baklava
Thomas J. Story
Yields20 ServingsTotal Time3 hrs 30 mins
AuthorNoor Al Mousa

Unlike classic layered baklava, these glistening turnovers from Syrian baker Noor Al Mousa of Mesa, Arizona aren’t filled with nuts until after the pastries come out of the oven. To make them, she folds stacks of filo into triangles and generously butters only the outside before baking—not between the layers, which would glue them together and make them difficult to fill. Al Mousa is part of the Syrian Sweets Exchange organization and sells her pastries at the Scottsdale farmers’ market.

How to Make It

1

Make syrup: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring granulated sugar and 1 cup water to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice. Reduce heat to an active simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and reduced to a scant 1 3/4 cups, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in 1 tsp. orange blossom water, and let syrup cool.

2

Preheat oven to 350°. Make filling: In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the syrup with remaining 1/2 tsp. orange blossom water, 2 tbsp. clarified butter, and the superfine sugar. Toss with pistachios.

3

On a work surface, stack the (unbuttered) filo sheets and cut into 3-in. squares, discarding scraps. Fold each stack over on itself to form a triangle and set triangles slightly apart on a buttered rimmed baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, very generously dab tops and edges of triangles with the remaining 1/4 cup clarified butter, letting some flow onto pan.

4

Bake, rotating halfway through, until medium golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let stand just until cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes. Gently open a pocket in center of each triangle and fill with a rounded tbsp. of nut mixture. Set each filled pastry back in pan so that it touches the others. Using a soup spoon, evenly coat warm baklava with 1/2 cup syrup. (Save remaining syrup for other uses.) Let stand at least 2 hours for filling to firm up.

*Find orange blossom water at grocery stores with baking and cocktail supplies, and at international markets.

Find ghee at supermarkets and Indian grocery stores, and samneh at Arabic markets; a blend of butter and oil is the most economical, but all-butter tastes the best.

At supermarkets, check packages of frozen, paper-thin filo dough carefully for size (you want sheets about 12 by 17 in.), and buy more than 1 box, as the quantity of sheets per pound varies by brand. To help prevent cracking, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, not on the counter.

Ingredients

 2 cups granulated sugar
 1 tsp lemon juice
 1 ½ tsp orange blossom water*, divided
 6 tbsp homemade or store-bought clarified butter* (aka ghee and samneh), warmed until liquified, divided
 2 tbsp superfine or baker’s sugar
 1 ½ cups coarsely chopped, lightly toasted pistachios
 12 sheets filo dough* (12 by 17 in., about 10 oz.), thawed if frozen

Directions

1

Make syrup: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring granulated sugar and 1 cup water to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice. Reduce heat to an active simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and reduced to a scant 1 3/4 cups, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in 1 tsp. orange blossom water, and let syrup cool.

2

Preheat oven to 350°. Make filling: In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the syrup with remaining 1/2 tsp. orange blossom water, 2 tbsp. clarified butter, and the superfine sugar. Toss with pistachios.

3

On a work surface, stack the (unbuttered) filo sheets and cut into 3-in. squares, discarding scraps. Fold each stack over on itself to form a triangle and set triangles slightly apart on a buttered rimmed baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, very generously dab tops and edges of triangles with the remaining 1/4 cup clarified butter, letting some flow onto pan.

4

Bake, rotating halfway through, until medium golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let stand just until cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes. Gently open a pocket in center of each triangle and fill with a rounded tbsp. of nut mixture. Set each filled pastry back in pan so that it touches the others. Using a soup spoon, evenly coat warm baklava with 1/2 cup syrup. (Save remaining syrup for other uses.) Let stand at least 2 hours for filling to firm up.

*Find orange blossom water at grocery stores with baking and cocktail supplies, and at international markets.

Find ghee at supermarkets and Indian grocery stores, and samneh at Arabic markets; a blend of butter and oil is the most economical, but all-butter tastes the best.

At supermarkets, check packages of frozen, paper-thin filo dough carefully for size (you want sheets about 12 by 17 in.), and buy more than 1 box, as the quantity of sheets per pound varies by brand. To help prevent cracking, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, not on the counter.

Folded Pistachio Baklava