The Refreshing Fillings To Elevate Flavorful Baklava On Eid Al-Fitr

Eid al-Fitr, or the Festival of Sweets, is the perfect time to look at your existing baklava recipe and find a way to elevate or improve it. Though the history of baklava is debated with various cultures claiming it as their own and melding different flavors together, the sweet treat is a favorite dessert and a popular menu component during Eid al-Fitr. Some features of it remain the same in many cultural recipes, such as layers of thin sheets of pastry topped with a blend of chopped nuts all coated in sweet honey. Yet, many versions of the recipe add flavorings and other ingredients to enhance and deepen the flavor of the dish.

There are many ways to add additional flavor to the perfect baklava recipe which invigorate and add interest to the dessert, but if you're looking for a refreshing element to brighten up this pastry, then fruity or flowery flavors are the way to go. It's as simple as sprinkling some spice into the nut mixture or adding a few drops of liquid flavoring to the syrup, but the impact is immense.

Fruit zest and infused waters have a big impact on baklava

Adding orange zest to your baklava brightens up this often heavily sweetened and dense pastry. There's little doubt that baklava should be sweet, but the slight bitterness of the orange zest helps to excite the palette just a bit more. Chef Sabrina Ghayour, known for her Persian delicacies and traditional foods, uses a blend of ground almonds and sliced pistachios when creating her version of baklava. She adds orange zest to the treat as a way to add a bitter note. This, along with the addition of cardamon, makes for a quite complex flavor that's more than just sweetness. Consider adding some zest or some citrus juice to the syrup as well to bring out that citrusy flavor even more.

Another way to add a bit more flavor to this tried-and-true sweet is using rose or orange blossom water. Sally Butcher, who owns the Persian-inspired food and bakery Persepolis in Peckham, London, adds either of these flavors to a mixture of ground almonds, pistachios, walnuts, or cashews. Butcher adds the infused water to the nut mixture, but it may also be possible to mix it into the syrup that is poured overtop assembled baklava.

There are other older-style methods for elevating the flavor of baklava like incorporating date or honey into the syrup instead of a simple water and white sugar syrup, but however, you choose to make your baklava recipe your own, know that you've got options for this sticky, sweet dessert. Maybe you should just make a couple of batches!