Traditional Ganja baklava has more layers of pastry than its Baku equivalent and rose water is added both to the pastry and the filling. In 2010, a 15-metre long and 5-metre wide baklava was made in Ganja. Some 20,000 people tucked into the six-tonne pastry. News.Az is grateful to Ganja’s Leyla Aliyeva for sharing her recipe with us.
Preparation time: 2 hours
Cooking time: 40-45 min
- For the pastry
- 250g butter
- 4 eggs
- 400g soured cream
- 750g flour
- a little rose water
- For the filling
- 2.5 kg walnuts (or almonds or a mixture of the two)
- 2 kg sugar
- 6-7 cardamom pods
- 8 cloves
- For the syrup
- 0.5 kg sugar
- 400 ml water
- 40 g honey
- rose water
- For the glaze
- saffron infused in 100 ml water
- Take the butter out of the fridge to allow it time to reach room temperature.
- Sieve the flour onto a large board or into a large bowl and make a hole in the centre. Pour the soured cream, eggs and soft butter into the hole and gradually fold in the flour from the outside.
- Knead well until the dough is smooth and soft.
- Cover with a clean teacloth and leave in a warm place to rise for 60 to 90 minutes.
- While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Remove the skin from the walnuts or almonds by heating them in a frying pan, then placing inside a clean teacloth and rubbing, but not too hard. Crumble the skinned nuts and mix with the sugar. Grind the cloves and cardamom and add to the filling.
- Take the risen dough and separate into 18 balls, one for each layer of the baklava. Roll the balls out until the pastry is very thin, 0.5 mm/0.02 inch thick.
- Butter a deep baking tin. Place a layer of pastry in the tin, making sure it covers the base completely. Brush with melted butter and place another layer on top.
- Spread the filling over the second layer, 4-5 mm/0.16-0.2 inches thick.
- Place another layer on top and cover with filling. Continue until 18 layers are in the baking tin.
- Cut the baklava in the tin into diamond shapes, 10×4 cm/3.9×1.6 inches, before cooking.
- Coat the surface with saffron infusion.
- Place half a walnut or almond in the centre of each diamond.
- Bake at 180-200 degrees Celsius/350-390 degrees Fahrenheit/gas mark 4 to 6 for 35-40 minutes.
- Make a syrup of the honey, sugar, water and rose water, mixing it well.
- Some 15 minutes before the baklava is ready, take it out of the oven and pour over the syrup, allowing it to seep through the baklava.
- Return to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.