Pumpkin and walnut baklava

Serves 12 Desserts and puddings

230511 Sebze D6 Baklava 35



  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 21 thin filo sheets (810gx25cm), thawed if frozen (see cook's note)
  • 1tbsp crushed walnuts or pistachios, to decorate
  • Turkish kaymak or clotted cream, to serve

For the syrup

  • 340g granulated sugar
  • 6 cloves
  • juice 1/2 small lemon

For the filling

  • 700g pumpkin or butternut squash (prepared weight), peeled, deseeded and cut into 2cm chunks
  • 2tbsp granulated sugar
  • 125g walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1tbsp ground cinnamon


To prepare the syrup, put the sugar in a medium, heavy pan, pour in 300ml water and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. When the sugar has dissolved, reduce the heat and stir in the cloves and the lemon juice. Simmer for around 25 minutes until the syrup starts to thicken slightly, coating the back of a spoon. Remove the cloves and leave the syrup to cool in the pan.

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C F/Gas 6. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper.

To make the filling, put the pumpkin or butternut squash chunks on the prepared baking sheet in one layer. Sprinkle the sugar over and bake for 35 minutes until softened. Leave to cool, then finely chop the pumpkin or squash into pieces the size of pine nuts and put in a bowl. Stir in the chopped walnuts and cinnamon and gently combine well.

Turn the oven temperature down to 180C/160C F/Gas 4. Melt the butter over a gentle heat in a small pan and skim off the white foam that forms on top. Brush the base and sides of a 25cm round or square baking tin with the melted butter.

Take the filo sheets out of the pack and cut into discs or squares to fit into your baking dish. Place them on a clean, dry surface and cover with a damp tea towel. Place a filo sheet over the buttered baking tin and brush with more melted butter. Continue in this way until you have used 12 filo sheets.

Gently spoon the filling mixture on top, leaving 1cm around the edges free of filling. Gently pat down so the filling is intact and smooth in one layer. Place another filo sheet on top and brush with the melted butter, then continue in this way until you have used up all the pastry. Tuck the edges in to seal with the buttered brush. Use a sharp knife to slice through all the layers and cut into quarters, then cut each quarter into 3 wedges.

Gently butter the top layer of pastry again and bake for 55-60 minutes or until the top is golden. Take the baklava out the oven and pour the cooled syrup over the hot baklava. Return the baklava to the oven for another 8-10 minutes, then remove and leave to cool.

Once cool, sprinkle the crushed nuts in the middle of the baklava. Gently remove slices to serving plates and serve with a dollop of kaymak or clotted cream on the side.

The baklava will keep well, covered, at room temperature for 3-4 days.

Cook's note: Thin filo pastry sheets or baklavalik yufka, available at supermarkets, works best for making baklava.

230511 Sebze D6 Baklava 35


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