Pistachio and walnut baklava with rhubarb and rose delight

13 March 2010
Pistachio and walnut baklava with rhubarb and rose delight

March is the time when rhubarb is at its best. Madalene Bonvini-Hamel suggests wasy to make the most of this seasonal delight.

See also her article on seasonal spring recipes and her recipes for:

Cauliflower soup with Morbier air profiteroles and watercress oil
Oyster beignets with a sorrel velouté
Pickled broccoli and chestnut mushroom salad


For the pistachio and walnut baklava

  • 300g pistachios
  • 300g walnuts
  • 2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 300g soft brown sugar
  • 16 sheets of filo pastry (40cm x 30cm)
  • 150g unsalted butter, melted

For the rhubarb and rose delight

  • 225g caster sugar
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 225g rhubarb
  • 300ml water
  • 4 leaves of gelatine
  • 25g cornflour dissolved in 50ml cold water
  • 2tbs rose water

For the rhubarb and apple purée

  • 125g of the cooked rhubarb purée
  • 125g russet apples, peeled and chopped
  • 100ml water

For the syrup

  • 750g caster sugar
  • 750ml water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Juice and zest of one lime and one lemon
  • 45g honey
  • 1tsp whole cloves


For the rhubarb and rose delight

Wash the rhubarb and chop into small pieces. Place the rhubarb, lemon juice, sugar and water in a medium saucepan and over a low heat, dissolve the sugar.

Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Leave the rhubarb juice to infuse for 10 minutes. Pass the rhubarb through a sieve and keep the pulp for the rhubarb and apple purée.

Line a 22cm x 15cm tray with cling film and set aside. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water. Once they have bloomed, squeeze to remove any excess water. Pour 450ml of the rhubarb juice into a medium non-stick saucepan, add the prepared gelatine leaves and the dissolved cornflour water, and bring the juice to a rolling boil for 12-14 minutes, approximately 112ºC. Stir continuously to prevent the mixture from catching and burning. Once the mixture reaches the desired temperature, remove from the heat and stir in the rose water. Pour the mixture into the prepared tray and leave to cool at room temperature for about 12 hours.

Once the jellies are set, cut them into desired shapes and roll them in a mixture of one part cornflour and two parts icing sugar. Keep the jellies in an airtight container in a cool, well-ventilated room; do not refrigerate.

For the rhubarb and apple purée

Place the chopped apples and water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook for five minutes until the apples are soft.

Blend the rhubarb purée, cooked apples and water until smooth, then pass the purée through a fine sieve, and chill.

For the pistachio and walnut baklava

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Place the nuts, cinnamon and sugar into a food processor and pulse blitz until they are a coarse crumb texture.

Melt the butter and cut the filo pastry sheets in half to measure 20cm x 30cm. Start assembling the baklava in a tray measuring 3.5cm x 32cm x 22cm. Brush each sheet with the melted butter and lay 10 sheets with butter at the base of the tray. Spread half of the nuts and sugar mixture over the filo. Cover with another 10 filo sheets brushed with melted butter for the next layer. Press down and place the remainder of the nut and sugar mixture on top. Finish the baklava by adding another 12 layers of filo pastry, each sheet brushed with melted butter.

Using a sharp paring knife and a ruler to measure, cut through the first 12 layers, and divide into 24 pieces, measuring 2.5cm x 10cm. Bake the baklava for 45 minutes.

For the syrup

Bring all the ingredients for the syrup to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until it reaches a coating syrup consistency. Pass the syrup through a fine sieve.

Once the baklava is cooked remove from the oven and leave to rest for five minutes then cut all the way through to the base of the tray. Then ladle the hot syrup over the hot baklava. As it will take time to absorb the syrup, keep adding a ladle at a time. Leave the baklava to cool and rest over night, for a minimum of 12 hours.

To serve

Place a piece of baklava onto a serving plate, spoon two teardrops of the rhubarb and apple sauce onto the plate, cut the rhubarb and rose delights into desired shapes and dust them in a mixture of cornflour and icing sugar. Arrange them on the plate, and garnish with chopped pistachios and tiny sprigs of coriander cress.

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