I promise there will be a Timon post in the next day or two, but I’m still rather bushed from the last few weeks, and photo posts always take me hours, so you will just have to make do with a recipe for the time being (not an actual recipe for ‘the time being’, though. I’m not sure what that tastes like, and I haven’t written the recipe for it at any rate). Oh, how you suffer!
Don’t be intimidated by this recipe. It’s time-consuming and a little fiddly, certainly, but if you take it slowly it’s actually very easy. And it’s delicious and keeps for days, so it’s worth making the time to make it.
Two tips for filo pastry without tears (of either kind, in fact): first, never buy the frozen version – defrosted frozen filo pastry is unbelievably fragile and will fall apart if you so much as look at it cross-eyed (and after ten or so layers, you will definitely be cross-eyed). Seriously, I’ve given up buying the stuff because it always makes me cry – if it’s a choice between frozen filo pastry and cooking something different for dessert, I will cook the something different every time. Get the stuff from the fridge section. Trust me on this.
Tip two is that olive oil spray is inauthentic but awesome – I don’t, in fact, use it in this particular recipe, but there is nothing to stop you doing so, and I’d certainly use it for this if I were in a hurry or feeling generally impatient. I do use it for a lot of other things. It’s awesome for so many reasons I can hardly count them. For one thing, spraying a layer of olive oil onto filo pastry is much, much faster than brushing it with butter, and lowers your chance of tearing the pastry significantly. For another thing, it’s a bit lower in fat (you use much less of it), and of course it’s also vegan. Olive oil-brushed filo is a bit crispier than the buttery kind, and you might even find you prefer its lighter flavour.
This recipe is lightly adapted from one in Tessa Kiros’s book Food From Many Greek Kitchens. Pretty much my entire feast yesterday came from this book, and it was all lovely, so I can heartily recommend it.
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360 g white sugar
2 tbsp honey
strip of lemon peel
juice of half a lemon
2-3 cinnamon sticks
150 g almonds
150 g pistachios
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
22 sheets filo pastry (1 packet should do it)
150 g butter, melted (or your trusty olive oil spray!)
30-50 whole cloves