Bastani Akbar-Mashti on Baklava

Bastani Akbar-Mashti on Baklava

It is, sadly, not enough to just have ice-cream anymore. There has to be an extra carbohydrate bit so I thought I’d lump the Middle East together in one handy package and use a baklava as a base for this Persian variation on vanilla ice-cream.

I almost stuffed the ice-cream completely by just giving the ingredients a quick glance and not looking at the instructions. To clarify, the stages are
1. Heat milk with split vanilla pod
2. Whisk sugar with eggs
3. Pour hot milk slowly into sugar and eggs while stirring
4. Add cream when cooled.

and not pour all the ingredients except the eggs into a saucepan and start heating and then wonder that the eggs looked a little lonely in the bowl and have another look at the recipe. But, as Mark at work kindly pointed out when my line of tapenade had a slick of olive oil around it making it look like an overexcited black slug – ‘all can be fixed.’

There was nothing I could do about the getting the cream or the sugar out of the milk, so I just added a little sugar to the eggs and whisked, and then just poured the milk/cream slowly in as if nothing had happened. I then added two teaspoons of rosewater, as part of my quest to finish the bottle, which was to taste. It is strong so advance a little at a time. I also added two teaspoons of honey, which I regretted as it provides an overly harsh note of sweetness. Put in the fridge to cool, before adding it to the ice-cream maker. You can then chuck little neatly cut cubes of turkish delight in as it goes around and marvel as they get drawn into the icy vortex.

Place in three dariole moulds, smooth over the top and leave in the freezer until ready. If you had some kind of tube thing, that would be quite good too.

Baklava is easier than it looks and is no harder than making a lasange, a tricky dagwood, or a voltaic pile. Phyllo pastry can be a bit fiddly but if you work with small amounts, it shouldn’t give you too much trouble. I wanted it to match the ice-cream so I cut rounds out of a similar size to the dariole moulds three or four sheets at a time by using a cutter ring and giving it a good whack with a rolling pin. I used (buttered) ramekins for each individual one and you stack it like this. You’ll need to brush each round of pastry with butter as you stack them. A lovely assistant is a boon.

4 rounds of phyllo pastry
nut mix nut mix nut mix
3 rounds of phyllo pasty
nut mix nut mix nut mix
3 rounds of phyllo pastry
nut mix nut mix nut mix
5 rounds of phyllo pastry

Heat sugar the sugar syrup over a low heat until the sugar dissolves and the allow to simmer uncovered without stirring for five minutes to get it syrupy. Pour over the baklava and then bake for about 30 minutes in an 180C oven or until goldened. Allow to cool in the fridge – time does help the flavours.

Remove the baklava from the ramekin, heat the dariole’s in warm ater briefly and place carefully on topon the baklava, top with a little of the nut mixture, decorate with turkish delight and serve.

Well it was fantastic, really fantastic. Ice cream makers are the best. Admittedly I wanted it a little sharper than a slighty tilting truncated pine tree but not to be. I’m convinced Keiko has some kind of robotic lathe that she picked up from an outsourced Japanese precision engineering firm, it defies my competencies. Nevertheless project Become Quite Good at Dessert progresses well.

Bastani Akbar-Mashti:
250ml of full cream milk; 100gm sugar; 2 eggs; 400ml of thick cream; one vanilla pod; 2tsp of rosewater.
packet of phyllo pastry. Nut mix: 1 cup of chopped cashews and walnuts; 1/2 tsp each of ground cinnamon, allspice, and cloves; 100gm butter (plus extra for the pastry). Sugar Syrup: 1/2 cup of caster sugar; 1/3 cup of water; juice and finely grated rind of half a lemon.

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  1. J’s avatar

    hi anthony, that moorish fantasy looks unspeakably delicious…i know exactly what you mean about reading recipes all the way through…have messed up enough times to have swung to the other extreme, reading and re-reading instructions for fear of oversights

  2. Kate’s avatar


    Next you’ll be bashing up lifeguards.


    Looks luverly. When I come home in Feb can I invite myself over for ice cream?

  3. Reid’s avatar

    Hi Anthony,

    I love baklava and make it quite often. It is indeed so much easier to make than it looks. The rose water flavored ice cream sounds like it would taste great with the baklava. You should also try using some in the baklava as well.

  4. Anthony’s avatar

    It spoke, it said mmmwahmmmmwh. And thank for for perfectly setting up a joke for me – not moorish at all, we were stuffed.

    I’m crap with instructions but it’s a bit harder to dissamble a mix of dairy products and sugar than a bookcase.



    Ice cream for all my friends.

    I’d never made it before and I was impressed with how straightforward it is. The rosewater is a good idea for the baklava and I think Lebanese tend to use it more. I also saw a recipe that used orange rind instead of lemon which would be good.

  5. Gracianne’s avatar

    Anthony, I find rose water a bit too sweet, I was thinking orange water. That’s what my husband’s granny was using in her almond desserts, she was from North Africa. Try, if you can find it, it gives a very subtle orange taste and is perfect combined to almonds and honey.

  6. Anthony’s avatar

    Thanks Gracianne

    I have to use rosewater very sparingly, that’s why I’m still working my way through a small bottle. I’ll kep an eye out for it, it would be lovely for summer. Do you have any cocktail recipes?

  7. Gracianne’s avatar

    Sorry, no cocktail recipes, I am a wine person. The only one I like is made of 1 measure black-currant liqueur and 4 measures cold dry white wine. It is called a Kyr, from the monk who named it. But you probably know it already.

  8. Anthony O'D’s avatar

    I manage to get through rosewater by adding a couple of teaspoons near the end of simmering a vegetarian couscous. I got this idea from one of Greg Malouf’s books. But how much is too much in a frozen dessert? I’m now the proud owner an ice cream machine; friends over tomorrow evening for a Christmas buffet, but a forecast temperature in Melbourne of 36 degrees. I’m looking at a blood orange and rosewater sorbet from Sam and Sam Clark’s Casa Moro cookbook as a refreshing close, but they ask for 150ml of rosewater along with 600 ml of blood orange juice. That sounds excessive. Should I go ahead with this? Anyone tried anything similar with rosewater?

  9. Anthony’s avatar

    Never knew that about Kyr. You’ve got to hand it to monks, they know their booze.

    36! – do your friends have a pool?
    Savoury usage is a nice idea and congratulations on your ice-cream machine. 150ml sounds like absolute heaps even allowing for the citric tatse of the oranges. My guess would be to use a third of that, taste it, and then keep adding until you get there. You could also get to the level of sweetness by more sugar instead of rosewater. The mix doesn’t taste that different to the resulting dessert so you can use your own judgement before putting it in. Hope it works out

  10. CW’s avatar

    That looks divine!!!!!!!!!!!

    Having said that, how do you eat it without making a complete mess and ruining the fine construction? :)

  11. flygirl’s avatar


    we are not worthy. all the hail the king.

    seriously, that is one spectacular dessert!

    Other Anthony
    What the spiceman said. 150mL sounds way too much but you never know with rosewater. What about rose syrup?

  12. Anthony’s avatar

    Human, all too human.

    There to be mooshy mashed and a large plate to do it on.

    Nah look it’s a bit wonky and nothing you couldn’t whip up after calling in to a lebanese delicatessen. Reet tasty though.

  13. Robyn’s avatar

    That looks so fantastic…I want to cry. :| BECAUSE I’M NOT GONNA MAKE IT, RAAWR. *sniff* I’ve made ice cream and I’ve worked with phyllo, but…yeah. Boop. Boopy. (I’ve turned into a robot.) My first cooking class this past semester was working with phyllo dough, hehe…oh fun. So much butter.

  14. Anthony’s avatar

    C’mon Robopboopboopy
    You can do it just doing the two together and desserty joy.

    Nowt’ better than butter.

  15. Anthony’s avatar

    C’mon Robopboopboopy
    You can do it just doing the two together and desserty joy.

    Nowt’ better than butter.

  16. bramble’s avatar

    I always thought of baklava as something too complicated to make. Thankyou oh Great Spice One for raising the veil.

    (Eh, you used premade pastry too! The shock! The horror! Well done, mate.)

  17. Anthony’s avatar

    Hey Branble

    Nah no surprises on the phyllo pastry, I mean I don’t make my own butter, knives or saucepans do I? Stock though, yes.

    Baklava is pretty straightforward, harder is sorting out and shopping for a dinner party in half an hour.

  18. notthewest’s avatar

    Re baklava, the Macedonians make it best. No I don’t care if I bring on WW4 it’s true. The Turks and Greeks make it too dry. Moisture is the thing. And what you say about leaving it to develop the flavour is TRUE. Those people who have discipline should leave it in the fridge for three days before eating.

    My ex-mother-in-law OWNS this dish now that her sister is dead. Much enjoyed the Baklava text graphic by the way.

  19. Anonymous’s avatar

    Hey Hey.. I am Turkish, & I, along w/ my American neighbors wait 2 days before we dig in. I made it earlier today & we are all patiently waiting :-)

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