Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Lilac Cashew Baklava

Last year I was all lilac crazy. Once I had figured out how to harvest my lilacs creating sugars and syrups, I went on a lilac baking binge, creating recipes like Lilac Ginger Ale, Lilac French Macarons, Lilac Blueberry Scones and Chocolate Truffles.

Even though it was a bit exciting last weekend to have four different varieties of lilacs blooming on our PA property at once, this year I was a bit more calm about the whole thing. 

I harvested the sweetest smelling ones to make sugar, simple syrup and infused gin with lilacs. I also and spread some out on an extra large paper-lined baking sheet to dry.

Recently I was thinking how I hadn't made baklava in years and was looking for a good flavor idea as an excuse to bring on the filo dough. 

The last version I posted on this here blog was an agave rose version with macadamia and pistachio nuts. That was delicious but it was time to create another variety.

I fetched some filo dough in the local supermarket and luckily, I always have tons of raw nuts on hand. The folks over Kerrygold made sure some of their delicious butter was tucked into our  Pie Party Potluck swag bag. I was saving it for something special and here it was perfect. 

For the nut ingredient, baklava usually calls for walnuts. I still wasn't ready to bow to tradition so instead, I substituted mellow, sweet cashews to complement the delicate, fragrant flavor of the lilac syrup. 

This baklava turned out better than I expected. I brought a small tray of it along to a brunch that afternoon and got a yum consensus. Relieved the finished pastry didn't taste like perfume, this recipe is now officially on the list for a garden party I am throwing in a couple of weeks for the local community. 

Lilac Cashew Baklava


  • 1+3/4 cups lilac simple syrup (recipe follows)
  • 12 Sheets phyllo dough
  • 1 stick of melted butter
  • 2 cups ground raw cashew nuts
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease a 9X13 inch pan.
  • Throw the cashews into a food processor. Take care not to grind them completely into powder. You want bits and pieces.
  • Trim your phyllo dough to your pan size. Take 6 sheets, wrap in plastic and put aside.
  • Lay one sheet of phyllo down and using a pastry brush, coat the entire piece with butter. Lay the next one down until you have used up all 6 sheets, ending with the butter on top.
  • Spread out the ground cashew nuts on the top sheet of phyllo, unwrap the rest of the dough and lay the 7th sheet on top.
  • Slather the 7th sheet with butter and repeat until all sheets are used up.
  • Then cut the layered sheets into any shape you wish, squares, rectangles. I made traditional triangles.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes or until the phyllo is golden brown on top.
  • When it's just out of the oven, pour the warm lilac simple syrup mixture over the top and let cool completely before serving. 

For the Lilac simple syrup:

  • 2 cups lilac blossoms, rinsed and plucked.
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Place clean lilac blossoms in a heat-proof glass bowl.
  • In a saucepan, bring sugar and water to a simmer stirring occasionally.
  • When the sugar and water have been thoroughly combined, pour the hot liquid over the lilac blossoms and let stand for about 2 hours before straining out the blossoms.
  • Store in a tightly capped glass bottle or jar.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness, that's so pretty for Spring. How are not ten thousand pounds? xo


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