I think pistachio, cranberry and orange are the tastiest Christmas flavors you can find. And if you combine them with fragrant aniseed, cardamom and honey your Christmas baking can’t go wrong. In my variation on the classic walnut and raisin baklava from Montenegro all these festive flavors come together in a delicious crunchy, sticky, fragrant cookie. This pistachio and cranberry Christmas baklava is rolled up with the help of a chopstick and shaped in a nice snail shell form. You can easily bake this baklava a few days in advance. In an air-tightly sealed tin it will stay fresh and crunchy for at least 5 days. Serve them with tea or coffee or even as an elegant dessert with some whipped cream or crème fraîche. Would you rather bake the classic version? Walnut and raisin baklava from Montenegro
Pistachio and cranberry Christmas baklava
For ± 24 pieces
125 g (½ cup) of butter
250 g (2 cups) pistachios
100 g (⅔ cup) of dried cranberries
12 sheets of filo pastry (± 28 x 40 cm /11 x 16 inch)
zest and juice of 1 orange
1 tsp aniseed powder
juice of ½ lemon
220 g (⅔ cup) of honey
3 cardamom pods (crushed)
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 170°C/ 340°F. Melt the butter.
Chop half of the pistachio nuts and the cranberries coarsely. Chop the rest finely.
Cut the dough sheets in half so that you get 2 pieces of 28 x 20 cm / 11 x 8 inch. Place 1 sheet of dough on a work surface with the short side towards you and brush generously with butter.
Cover a baking tin with a slightly upright edge with aluminum foil.
Keep some of the coarse and finely chopped pistachio nuts, cranberries and orange zest separate to decorate. Sprinkle the bottom 5 cm of the short side of the dough with ± 1/12 of the remaining pistachios, cranberries and orange zest and sprinkle with some aniseed powder. Place a chopstick or a thin stick on the filling so that it sticks out to the left and right. Roll up with the stick inside the dough. Once rolled up, press the dough inwards on both sides of the stick to create a slightly wrinkled effect. Roll up and put in the baking tin. Make all the rolls this way. Fold the aluminum foil so that the rolls all fit snugly. Pour over the rest of the butter and bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for ± 50 min. until brown.
Meanwhile, bring the honey to a boil in a pan with the orange juice, lemon juice, cardamom and a pinch of salt. Let boil very softly for 10 minutes. Keep at room temperature until use.
Turn the oven to 200°C. Remove the pistachio and cranberry Christmas baklava from the oven and pour on the syrup. Bake for another 5 minutes and then take out of the oven. Decorate with the rest of the pistachios, cranberries and orange zest and leave to cool down completely.
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