When we first moved to Cyprus, my parents and I would regularly go out on a Sunday. With my dad driving, we would travel along the coast or into the mountains. We didn’t really know where we would end up, but that was part of the fun. What wasn’t so much fun was when, one day, we stopped to pick some oranges from a tree, bit into them, and discovered they were incredibly bitter Marmalade oranges! Our fault for pinching them, really!
On our travels, we would stop at a local artopoieo (bakery) and pick up a few pastries (both savoury and sweet) to park up and eat somewhere with a great view. One of the things we would often buy is baklava, a filo pastry dish, drizzled in honey.
Exploring the mountains, we would come across rows and rows of brightly coloured beehives. Honey was important to Cypriot life and we would eat it on lots of different dishes. To quote P S Lambis; “Greeks have viewed honey not only as an important food, but also as a healing medicine and a social medium that would show friendship, kinship and peace. This ranged from not just cakes made from or sweetened with honey but also goat and sheep cheeses mixed with it to make a moreish delicacy.”
As you may have read in my previous post, P S Lambis kindly gave me some of their beautiful OSO honey to try out.
This honey is supplied exclusively by a small family business that has around 1,600 beehives across Cyprus, and was crowned the world’s best at the 2013 World Beekeeping Awards in Kiev, fighting off competition from 112 other honey samples from 25 other countries. The beekeepers use their experience to guide the bees to the best quality blooms during each season to ensure the best taste and quality. There’s a great ‘behind the scenes’ video on the P S Lambis Vimeo channel here, that’s definitely worth a watch!
So I thought, what could be more perfect to try out the OSO honey, than with some homemade baklava? This is my recipe:
12 sheets ready-made filo pastry (I used 2x packs of Jus-Rol sheets, with 6 sheets in each pack)
150g unsalted butter
200g mixed pistachios and walnuts (chopped up)
For the syrup
250g granulated sugar
Half a lemon (juice)
A dash of rose water
A drizzle of OSO Wildflower honey
Pre-heat the oven to 180C (fan oven).
Grease a baking tray with a little bit of butter. In the meantime, melt the rest of the butter in a pan on low heat.
Lay one sheet of the filo pastry onto the tray. If the pastry sheets are too large for the tin, just carefully cut the excess off with scissors.
Brush the top of the sheet with the melted butter and add another sheet on top of this. Continue this until you’ve layered up 6 sheets (half of your total pastry), brushing them with butter each time.
Sprinkle over the crushed up pistachios and walnuts, evenly across the pastry.
Add another sheet of filo pastry, brush it with butter and continue as before, until you’ve used up the rest of the sheets.
Brush the top sheet with butter and then carefully cut ‘criss cross’ lines across the top, using a sharp knife.
Put it into the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes. Keep an eye on it to make sure the top doesn’t burn or go too brown – if it looks like it’s getting too dark, put a sheet of baking paper over the top of it and turn the heat down.
Put the sugar, water, lemon juice and rose water into a pan and allow to simmer for around 20 minutes (making sure the sugar has melted), until it forms a syrup. Keep an eye on it – if you allow it to simmer for too long, it will turn into a thick caramel (I learned this lesson myself!)
Carefully pour it into the diamond slits you cut into the baklava and leave to cool.
When serving, take a generous spoonful of OSO Honey and place onto the baklava.
I was kindly given OSO Wildflower honey to try, but P S Lambis also sell Thyme flavour honey. You can buy both from their online store, at £14.00 a jar. It was without a doubt, the most delicious honey I’ve ever tasted and as with their Olive Oil, it is absolutely worth the money for the superb quality and flavour.
I was provided with the OSO Honey for review purposes by P S Lambis but did not receive any payment. All views are my own.