Baklava is one of those things I never really liked. I was accustomed to the pre-made slobbery, greasy, over-sugared, store-bought baklava. It just isn't the real thing. After visiting Turkey, I got a better idea of what makes a good baklava, so I perfected a recipe. But it was laden with butter. I wanted to make a version that was completely vegan and tasted just as good. I didn't capture all the sequence of photos for this batch. Check my original baklava recipe for more detail: http://jlamode.com/baklava/ Start with a blend of nuts and coconut. I like pistachios, pecans, walnuts and almonds, all in equal portions. Chop them a little bit coarsely in a food processor and set aside.
The time consuming part of baklava is in the pastry. It's easy enough to buy filo dough, but it has to be layered and brushed with coconut oil. I start out by brushing the pan with oil, then a sheet of dough, then brush with oil. I like to have 10-12 layers of dough for the bottom crust. Then, add the nuts, about a centimetre deep. The top pastry is the same procedure as the bottom crust, 10 layers of filo dough, brushed with coconut oil. It's important to cut the baklava prior to baking. Then bake ~20-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown, at 350˚F.
The syrup is the thing that brings the baklava together. The traditional recipe calls for honey, but to make it strict-vegan I use turbinado sugar. It's sometimes called "raw," demerara or unrefined sugar. I use equal portions of sugar and water - about a cup of each. Then, I add a cinnamon stick, a few whole cloves and orange blossom water. Bring to a boil and make sure all the sugar crystals have dissolved. Set aside until the baklava is done baking. Just before removing the baklava from the oven, return the syrup to a boil and strain our the cinnamon stick and cloves.
Working quickly, remove the baklava and pour the hot syrup over the pastry.
I wanted to add a bit extra to these, so I drizzled the top with vegan Belgian chocolate and added a sprinkle of shredded coconut.