Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Twelve Posts of Christmas: Vegan Macadamia Baklava with Rosella Syrup

On the second day of Christmas my vegie lover made for me...some baklava! And not regular baklava, but Aussie baklava made with macadamias (native to Australia, not Hawaii as some mistakenly believe) and drenched in rosella syrup (I'm talking fruit here folks, not the bird!) Rosella, or roselle, is grown for the gorgeous red calyx of the flower, rather than the seed pod. It is related to the hibiscus, and has been popularly used to make jams and syrups since colonial times. It tastes a bit like plums, but more tart, and provides a very vibrant coloured syrup. I bought the rosella powder to make life easier, but you could also buy the preserved flowers to colour and flavour your syrup, you'll just have to strain. If you can't find rosella, try making a raspberry syrup instead, but be sure to strain well.

1 packet of filo pastry
200g vegan margarine
500gr macadamias
1 tsp ground cinnamon
200gr caster sugar
200ml water
2 tsp rosella powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon rice bran syrup

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a lamington tin (baking dish about 20x30cm).
Chop nuts and cinnamon in food processor until like coarse breadcrumbs.
Melt margarine.
Carefully unroll filo pastry, and trim to fit baking tin. Work quickly with this pastry so it doesn't dry out. Place 2-3 sheets in bottom of tin, and brush with melted margarine. Sprinkle a handful of nuts to cover lightly. Put another 2-3 sheets of pastry on top, brush with margarine, and repeat layers finishing with pastry, with melted margarine on top. 
Using a sharp knife, cut into squares, diamonds, or triangles. 
Place in oven, and bake for approximately 30 -40 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
While the pastry is baking, make the syrup.
Place sugar, water, lemon juice, rice bran syrup, and rosella powder into sauce pan and bring to boil. Bring back to a simmer immediately and leave for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
when pastry is baked, pour hot syrup over the top evenly, and allow to cool. Do not cover or it will sog. Best kept in the fridge for up to a week (if it lasts that long!)