Berry Baklava Recipe

Berry Baklava Recipe Recipe

My husband's youngest sister loves sweets, but she often finds desserts to be too sweet for her palate. Baklava, for instance, is overwhelming for her. I found a remedy to this situation by adding berries. The fruits help balance the sweetness of the dessert by adding natural acidity.

I started by preparing a traditional baklava. Once it had cooled, I filled the dessert with a thin layer of freshly crushed berries, topped with a layer of mascarpone cheese to again reduce the sweetness (and for extra decadence) and garnished the finished product with fresh berries.

Ingredients

Yields: 12 servings

8 sheets phyllo dough
¼ cup coarsely ground walnuts
¼ cup coarsely ground almonds
1 tablespoon coarsely ground pistachios
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 tablespoons panko crumbs
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 small stick cinnamon, broken in half
1 clove (about ¼ teaspoon), finely ground
2 tablespoons blossom honey (or regular honey)
2 pints mixed fresh berries (blackberries, strawberries and raspberries)
1 cup marscarpone cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons fig preserves
2 cups whipping cream
4 tablespoons powdered sugar, extra for garnish


Directions

For the baklava base:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Grate about ½ teaspoon of cinnamon. Reserve the rest for another recipe. You want to use freshly ground cinnamon for optimum flavor.

In a bowl, combine the ground nuts, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, ground cinnamon and ground clove. Add 1 tablespoon melted butter and the honey.

Measure an 8-inch square non-stick brownie pan and cut the phyllo sheets to match the actual inside dimensions.

Combine the remaining melted butter with oil.

Brush a square of phyllo dough with a thin layer of butter/oil mixture using a silicone brush. (cover the remaining dough with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out). Stack the phyllo squares and line the pan with 4 layers of squares. Spread the nut mixture over the phyllo dough. Then repeat until all the phyllo sheets are used. Cut into into strips and make diagnonal slices to obtain diamond-shape pieces. Cover with a last layer of butter/oil mixture using a silicone brush.

Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350°F until slightly golden. Let the baklava cool for 15-20 minutes.

For the mascarpone filling:

In a stainless-steel mixing bowl, using an electric handheld mixer, whisk the mascarpone cheese with ¼ cup powdered sugar to soften it. 

Clean your handheld mixer in hot soapy water. For best results, always make sure the beater blades are completely clean prior to whipping cream. The whipping cream should also be whipped cold. Whip the 2 cups of cream (at low speed) for 2-3 minutes until creamy and smooth. Add the rest of the powdered sugar. Reserve 4 tablespoons of the whipped cream, then add 2 tablespoons fig preserves (I used the rest of the preserves from my fig noor bread cake) to the remaining whipped cream. Increase to maximum speed and keep beating for another 2-3 minutes, until it forms soft peaks. Do not over-beat or the texture will become grainy.

Pour ⅓ of the fig whipped cream into the mascarpone cream. Mix well using a silicone spatula. Add the rest of the whipped cream and gently fold it in to get an airy mousse.

Assembly:

Reserve a few berries for garnish. Place the fresh berries in a bowl and mash them until coarsely crushed.

Place 1 piece of baklava in an individual dessert cup. Remove the top phyllo crust. Reserve 1 teaspoon nut filling. Fill the inside of the baklava with 1 tablespoon coarsely crushed berries and 1½ tablespoons mascarpone and replace the phyllo dough crust. Garnish with a small dollop of mascarpone cream, 1 teaspoon of the reserved sweetened whipped cream, fresh berries and the reserved baked nut filling. Dust with powdered sugar.

Serve with a cup of masala chai.

Bon appétit!


Tips

You could replicate the same elegant dessert with other fruits such as peaches, mangoes or pineapple. Let your imagination run wild. 

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on September 20, 2013.


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