Red bean baklava
I bought organic whole wheat filo sheets earlier this week thinking I was going to make something with spinach or peas. But the idea of a sweet red bean filled treat was more exciting. I didn’t make it in layers like a traditional baklava. Instead I had wrapped them up initially like a turnover (or pop-tart) roughly 4 x 5 inches, and then I decided to cut them into pieces. Thought it would be kind of like a cookie. After tasting and testing the sweetness, I decided to dip them into the honey syrup I made earlier. When they cooled completely, the syrup made it really more… baklava tasting. The red bean adds a smooth texture and works well with the cinnamon and honey. Guess it’s like East meets (near) Middle East?
Baklava with red bean and almond
1lb package of filo
1 1/2 cup sweet red bean paste*
2/3 cup almonds chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup (possibly more) of oil or melted butter **
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
*I bought red bean paste from an Asian market; they are made from adzuki beans (a small red bean) and sugar, comes in cans or bags and in smooth or chunky style. Quality usually coincides with price. You can make it yourself from dried adzuki beans but it would take a really really long time.
**Sometimes I use (organic) baking spray to coat each layer with oil, but I had none this time. It’s faster than brushing them but does waste a can of the stuff.
Preheat oven to 325°. (In the past I had always baked filo at higher temperatures but 325° was really better at crisping up every layer evenly. However the color was a bit on the pale side, so maybe it’s just my oven or you might want to go up to 335° or 340°.)
Toast up the nuts briefly in a dry pan over medium high heat while stirring (3mins), add in cinnamon and mix into red bean paste.
Lay out the all the filo on work surface or baking sheet (the whole stack, mine had exactly 16 sheets, 15x18inches).
Brush a sheet with oil, pick up the sheet and flip it over onto the sheet under it and press together.
Place about 3 (or 4) tablespoons of filling on the right side center, a few inches in from the edge, spreading it into small rectangle (3.5×4.5 inches roughly).
Fold the edge flap (of the two sheets) over the filling, fold top flap over the center, and then the bottom flap. Then just keep rolling/folding it over onto itself, like wrapping a large flat egg roll. With my 16 sheets it came out perfectly to 8 filo packets, 4×5 inches.
Press on them gently to make sure the filling is evenly distributed.
Brush them all with oil.
Cut each packet into 3 equal pieces.
Space them out on a baking sheet and bake for an hour.
Bring honey, sugar and water to a boil; simmer for 5-6 minutes.
After baking, cool pieces for 5mins, and then dip each one briefly into the syrup, then cool for another 15mins.