Big Island Baklava

Big Island Baklava, 3rd place amateur dessert winner
Big Island Baklava, 3rd place amateur dessert winner in Kona coffee recipe contest 2013

Lots of butter, a good amount of sugar, flaky layers and a shot of 100% Kona coffee and we’re in the baklava business. I first tried baklava while in Greece where it is served in ethereal little bundles with just the right amount of honey dripping from the bottom. In fact, everything about Greek bakeries is ethereal, tiny finger sized ice cream cones, cakes that look straight out of a dream, and rows and rows of perfectly flaky baklava. I distinctly remember eating it for the first time, right out of the pink packing box from the bakery, on a random park bench at night in a light drizzle while feral cats eyed me from behind trees and garbage cans. Baklava waits for no woman.

My version of baklava has a Hawaiian twist, created for the 2013 Kona coffee recipe contest, and earned 3rd place in the amateur division. I already posted the recipe here, but wanted to give it due credit and it’s own post so you could find it easily when (not if) you decide to make it. This is one of the most crowd-pleasing desserts I’ve ever made and would be perfect for the holidays. Please refer to Simply Recipes for a more traditional version of this recipe.

Big Island Baklava
Big Island Baklava

Big Island Baklava
Makes about 24

1 cup butter, melted
about 11 filo dough sheets
1/2 lb crushed Big Island macadamia nuts
½ lb coconut flakes

For the syrup:
1 cup very strong Kona coffee (I get mine from Kona Rising Coffee Co.)
1 cup Hawaiian grown sugar
½ cup Big Island honey
4 cardamom pods

Pre-heat oven to 350. Using a pastry brush, grease a 9×13 inch glass baking dish with some of the melted butter.

Cut your filo sheets in half horizontally, this way they will fit the pan easily. Lay one sheet of dough in the pan and brush with butter. It’s ok if the dough tears or crinkles a little. Be sure to keep the dough covered while you are working so it doesn’t dry out. Repeat laying one sheet of dough down at a time and brushing with butter. Do this until you have 8 layers.

After buttering the 8th layer, sprinkle a thin layer or crushed mac nuts and a thin layer of coconut flakes on top of the dough. Layer 2 more sheets of dough on top of the nuts, buttering each. Repeat this until you have 3 layers of nuts. Then cover all with 8 more layers of buttered dough.

With a very sharp knife, cut baklava into squares or diamonds and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

While the baklava is baking, make the syrup. Add coffee, sugar, honey and cardamom pods and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Immediately bring down to a low simmer for about 7-8 minutes or until syrup thickens a little.

Once baklava is done baking, drizzle syrup over the baklava (removing cardamom pods first) and allow to sit for about 4 hours so that the syrup can be absorbed. Garnish with any leftover mac nuts and/or coconut. Enjoy!




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