Persian Pistachio Baklava Turnovers
Recipe by Tami Ganeles Weiser; photo contributed by Sherry Gerstein
Prep Time: 45 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes
These turnovers feature a crispy, nutty center, a limey honey soaking sauce, and a thoroughly unique dough that is tart and soft and nothing like the baklavas of Greece and Turkey. These are deliciously different.
1½ cups (188 grams) toasted pistachios, roughly chopped (see Kitchen Tips)
¼ cup (31 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon, roasted preferred
1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cardamom, roasted green preferred (see Kitchen Tips)
½ teaspoon (3 grams) salt
1 cup plain full-fat yogurt, room temperature
¾ cup (153 grams) granulated sugar
1 stick (½ cup/114 grams/4 ounces/8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
Juice of 1 very large, 2 medium or 3 small limes (about ¼ cup lime juice )
1 teaspoon (5 grams) vanilla bean paste
4½ cups (585 grams) unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1¼ teaspoons (6 grams) baking powder
¾ (4 grams) teaspoon salt
¼ stick (⅛ cup/28 grams/1 ounce/2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
Honey and Lime Glaze:
1 cup (204 grams) granulated sugar
¾ cup honey
¾ cup water
Zest of the limes used in the dough
- Make the filling: In a mixing bowl, combine the pistachios, confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt and mix to incorporate fully. Set aside.
- Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or if you are using a handheld electric mixer, in a large mixing bowl) mix the eggs for about 3 minutes, until fluffy. Add the yogurt, sugar, melted butter, lime juice, and vanilla bean paste and mix or whisk for 1 to 2 minutes, until completely incorporated.
- In another mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix thoroughly. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix at medium-low speed, or if you are mixing by hand, switch to a spoon and mix until it becomes a cohesive, soft, slightly tacky dough.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
- Dust a work surface with flour. Place the dough on the work surface. Cut into 6 equal pieces (about 210 grams/7.4 ounces) each. Gently roll 1 piece of dough into an 8- by 6-inch rectangle that is about about ⅛ inch thick. If it sticks to your hands, dust lightly with flour and set aside. Roll another piece of dough into a rectangle of the same size, dust very lightly with flour, and place it on top of the first. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough and stack them all. With a rolling pin, press down gently and shape into a 16- by 12-inch rectangle that is about ⅛ inch thick (see Kitchen Tips).
- Cut into 12 (4-inch) squares. Place about 2 tablespoons of the filling on one side of each square, at an angle. Moisten the edges of the square with a little water and fold over into small triangles. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet.
- Brush the triangles with the softened butter and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.
- While the baklava is baking, make the glaze. Combine the sugar, water, honey, and zest in a small saucepan and heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved completely and the glaze has thickened but is still pourable.
- Remove the baklava from the oven and, using a pastry brush, brush the glaze over it three times, coating it thoroughly and fully. Allow the glaze to seep in between brushing layers. Make sure to use all the glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- This recipe is inspired by and loosely adapted from a recipe for baghlava esfahani on the website Aashpazi, which has a fun video.
- To toast cardamom, start with the whole seeds. (If you have whole pods, place them on a cutting board. Using the flat side of a large chef’s knife, (being careful not to have the blade face you), gently press on the pods. The seeds will start popping out. Gather up the tiny seeds, and heat them in a frying pan or cast-iron skillet set over medium heat. Toast for 10 to 20 seconds or up to 1 minute, until fragrant, watching carefully so they don’t burn. You can then grind them in a spice grinder or a perfectly clean coffee grinder. If you like, you can reserve the husks for infusing liquids such as teas and sauces.
- You can find toasted or roasted nuts in most supermarkets, but if you can’t, or if you prefer to roast your own, try The Weiser Kitchen’s Roasted Nuts recipe.
- Thinner here is better, so you could roll the dough all the way to 18 by 14 inches, if you prefer less doughy turnovers. The squares will be 4¼ to 4½ inches (see step 6).