Saturday, March 19, 2022

Weekend Cooking: Baklava Slice

Recently I read The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak. Mae mentioned the book a few months ago and as soon as I read about it I knew that it was my kind of book! And it really was!  I loved it so much and it was my first 5/5 read for the year. I am already planning to read more of Elif Shafak's books.

One of the things that I loved about this book is the way it is a mix of history, mythology, the natural world, all combined to tell the history of Cyprus. Oh, and yes, food. Food plays an important part in the story, and ther

I do have a joint review coming soon, but today I thought I would mention share a passage from the book and an associated recipe.  In this passage we have Ada and her aunt Meryem, who has very definite opinions about food as you will see below:

In the evening, Meryem threw herself into making her favourite dessert - baklava. She ground a whole jar of pistachios, the noise of the food processor so loud it drowned out the howling of the blizzard outside. She prepared the dough from scratch, patting and pounding it between her palms, before covering it and putting it aside for a little 'nap'.

Ada, meanwhile, watched her aunt from where she sat at the end of the table. Her history notebook lay open in front of her. Not exactly to study, but to finish the butterfly she had left incomplete on the last day of school, just before she started screaming.

"Look at you! You're such a good student," chirruped Meryem, flicking a sidelong glance at her niece as she opened the food processor and scooped the contents out on to a plate. "I'm so happy you're doing your homework next to me."

"Well, I didn't have much of a choice, did I?" Ada said wearily. "You kept knocking on the door, asking me to come out."

Meryem giggled. "Of course I did. Otherwise you were going to spend the entire holidays in your bedroom. Not healthy."

"And that baklava is?" Ada couldn't help asking.

"It sure is! Food is a heart of a culture," replied Meryem. "You don't know your ancestor's cuisine, you don't know who you are."

"Well, everybody makes baklava. You can buy it in supermarkets."

"Everyone makes baklava, true, but not everyone succeeds. We Turks make it crispy with roasted pistachios. That's the right way. Greeks use raw walnuts - God knows who gave them that idea. It just ruins the taste."

Amused, Ada rested her chin on the tip of her index finger.

Though smiling still, a shadow crossed Meryem's face She didn't have the heart to tell Ada that for a fleeting moment she had seen Defne in that gesture, so painfully familiar.

Ada saaid, "You make it sound as if we should judge a culture not by its literature or philosophy, just by the baklava."

"Umm, yes."

Now I am sure that Meryem would find the recipe I am about to share a bit sacrilegous but never mind! It is certainly easier than proper baklava and it tastes delicious!  It is a recipe that I have made several times now and it is a big hit in our house. Actually, that's not quite true. It's a big hit with my husband and I. My son is allergic to tree nuts so this is one of the things that he can't have. Before you feel too sorry for him thinking he has a mother who makes things that she knows he can't eat, most of the time he doesn't try what I make anyway!

I originally found this recipe as part of the recipe challenge that used to be run through the Queen Baking Club on Facebook.

Baklava Slice 

1 ½ cups (225g) plain flour
¼ tsp bicarbonate soda
Pinch of salt
¼ tsp cinnamon or Cinnamon Baking Paste
115g unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup (55g) caster sugar
¼ cup (55g) firmly packed, brown sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp orange zest

1/2 cup (60g) pecans, chopped
1/2 cup (60g) walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup (60g) pistachios, chopped
1/3 cup (55g) lightly packed brown sugar
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of nutmeg
1 ½ tsp cinnamon or Cinnamon Baking Paste
60g unsalted butter, melted

1/3 cup (120g) honey
3 tbsp (60ml) water
1 tbsp (20ml) fresh orange juice
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste


Preheat oven to 180°C (fan forced), grease and line a 26cm x 16cm slice or brownie tin with baking paper.

Combine flour, bicarb, salt & cinnamon in a large bowl. Add melted butter, sugars, vanilla and orange zest, mixing until well combined. Press into prepared tin and bake for 12-15 minutes until evenly golden.


Combine all ingredients and mix well. Spoon over cooked base while it is still warm and bake for an additional 10 minutes until golden and aromatic.


Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat, simmering for 12-15 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Allow to cool slightly before drizzling over cooked slice.

To serve, cut into triangle pieces with a sharp knife. Makes a delicious treat served with double cream and a cup of tea!

Recipe Notes:

If using Cinnamon Baking Paste, incorporate paste into wet ingredients.

Slice will keep for 3 days in a airtight container.

Weekly meals

Saturday - Mexican Chicken
Sunday - 
Monday - Kebabs, baked potatoes and salad
Tuesday - Pork Chops, mash and broccoli
Wednesday - Chicken Kiev Tray Bake
Thursday - Baked Zucchini, Tomato and Parmesan risotto
Friday - Out for dinner

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page


  1. I love baklava but I have a devil of a time with filo so, I’d about given up on trying to work with it. THIS version would work for me! Clever.

    I like the sound of the book as well.

    1. The book is so good Tina! Highly recommend.

  2. I am so excited to get this recipe. My husband is Middle Eastern and he and his relatives love Baklava. Since my mother-in law is gone, there is no one to make it. Can't wait to try this easier recipe. The book sounds good too. thanks for the review.

  3. It may not be authentic, but I cannot wait to make these Baklava Slices!

  4. I like the sound of this easy version. Filo dough is, as Tina said, so fussy.

    1. One day I will try making it with filo but for now this recipe works.

  5. mm yum roasted pistachios. winner!

  6. That's a wonderful excerpt from the Shafak book!

  7. I”m so glad you liked the book! Last weekend blogger was eating all my comments (I hope it’s satisfied by now) so I just realized that I hadn’t commented on your link, which I appreciated. I haven’t been writing about food much lately, but hope to link up tomorrow.

    best… mae at

    1. I loved it Mae! Will definitely be reading more of her books.