April 1st, 2010

Pistachio and Walnut Baklava with Rhubarb and Rose Delights

I love all the individual elements of this dish and think of them more as petite fours or sweets. I challenged myself to put them all together and make one fantastic partnership. The sticky sweetness of the fragrant rhubarb rose delights (which is my version of a Turkish delight);  the baklava with it’s crunch of the nuts; the addition of a butter velvety smooth rhubarb and apple puree makes this dish an eye catching and wonderful dessert.

The last time I made Turkish delight was at catering college, and that is many many moons ago. I had to dust the old recipe off and put on my own British Larder stamp. This idea came from the making of the rhubarb custard pie pudding. When I cooked the rhubarb for the pudding it highlighted the incredible fragrance of the rhubarb syrup  and that encouraged me to make a rhubarb Turkish delight, it’s not traditional in the slightest, but it’s a bit of seasonal fun.

This recipe only works with forced rhubarb as you rely on the fragrance of the bright pink thin skin, the outdoor rhubarb will not deliver the same effect and the flavour will definitely be more earthy.

Mr.P adores baklava and it’s something so easy to make but so easy to get wrong.  My secret is that you must follow the recipe to the letter. The layering of the filo sheets is very important, before baking you must cut through the top layers of filo pastry, if you do not do this your baklava will not be able to absorb the syrup and it will be dry. The final secret is in the soaking of the baklava, which must be covered with the syrup, a  ladle at a time and must be left to rest at room temperature for at least 12 hours. It’s a labour of love and will definitely test temptation, but there is no prizes for being impatient.

Your efforts and patience will be rewarded with this most amazing and delicious dish. I made one fantastic discovery when developing this recipe  and that was that coriander and rhubarb makes the most amazing taste combination. Coriander has a slight citrus fragrance and it works magically with the rhubarb. A genius combination!

Rhubarb and Rose Delights

  • 225g caster sugar
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 225g rhubarb
  • 300ml water
  • 4 leaves of gelatine
  • 25g corn flour dissolved in 50ml cold water
  • 2tbs rosewater

Wash the rhubarb and chop it, with skin and all, into small pieces.

Put the water, sugar,rhubarb and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over a low heat.

Once the sugar has dissolved increase the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Leave the rhubarb juice to infuse for 10 minutes. Pass the rhubarb and keep the pulp for the rhubarb and apple puree.

Line a 22cm x 15cm tray with clingfilm and set aside.

Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water, once they have bloomed squeeze to remove the excess water.

Weigh 450ml of the bright pink rhubarb juice into a medium non-stick saucepan, add the soaked squeezed gelatine leaves and the dissolved corn flour water, bring the juice to a rolling boil for 12 – 14 minutes, approximately 112°C, stir continuously to prevent the mixture from catching and burning.

Once the mixture reaches the desired temperature remove from the heat and stir in the rosewater.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tray and leave to cool at room temperature for about 12 hours, do not refrigerate.

Once the jellies are set, cut them into the desired shapes and roll them in a mixture of 1 part corn flour and 2 parts icing sugar.

Keep the jellies in an airtight container in a cool well-ventilated room, do not refrigerate.

Rhubarb and Apple Puree

  • 125g of the cooked rhubarb puree
  • 125g russet apples, peeled
  • 100ml water

Peel and chop the apples, place these and the water into a small saucepan and bring it to the boil, cook for 5 minutes until the apples are soft

Blend the rhubarb puree, cooked apples and water till smooth, pass the puree through a fine sieve, chill.

Pistachio and Walnut Baklava

  • 300g pistachios
  • 300g walnuts
  • 2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 300g soft brown sugar
  • 16 sheets of filo pastry (40cm x 30cm)
  • 150g unsalted butter, melted


  • 750g caster sugar
  • 750ml water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Juice and zest of one lime and lemon
  • 45g honey
  • 1tsp whole cloves

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Weight the nuts, cinnamon and sugar into a food processor and pulse blitz till the nuts are all the same size, not powdered but a coarse crumb texture.

Melt the butter and cut the filo pastry sheets in half to measure 20cm x 30 cm sheets. Start assembling the baklava in a tray measuring 3.5cm high x 32cm x 22cm. Brush each sheet with the melted butter and lay 10 sheets with butter at the base of the tray, divide the nuts and sugar mixture in half, spread one half over the filo. For the next layer brush another 10 filo sheets  with melted butter, press down onto the bottom layer and place the last half of the nut and sugar mixture on top. Finish the baklava  with 12 layers of filo pastry, each sheet brushed with melted butter.

Use a sharp pairing knife and a ruler, to measure, cut through the first 12 layers and make 24 pieces, measuring 2.5cm wide x 10cm long . Bake the baklava for 45 minutes.

While the baklava is baking make the syrup.

Bring all the ingredients for the syrup to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the syrup is of coating consistency. Pass the syrup through a fine sieve.

Once the baklava is cooked remove from the oven and leave to rest for 5 minutes then cut the baklava all the way through to the base of the tray. Then ladle the hot syrup over the hot baklava. It will take a bit of time to absorb all the syrup keep adding a ladle at a time.

Leave the baklava to cool and rest over night, for a minimum of 12 hours.

Assembly of the dish

Place a piece of baklava onto a serving plate, spoon two teardrops of the rhubarb and apple sauce onto the plate, cut the rhubarb and rose delights into desired shapes and dust them in a mixture of corn flour and icing sugar, arrange them on the plate.  Garnish the plate with chopped pistachios and tiny sprigs of coriander cress. The combination of coriander and rhubarb works incredibly well.

Serves 24

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21 Comments to “Pistachio and Walnut Baklava with Rhubarb and Rose Delights”

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  1. I forgot about this recipe until I was scanning through a few things I had saved. I have some rhubarb simple syrup in the fridge so I think I’ll try the Turkish delight. Thanks.

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