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Dish Of The Day: Baklava

Dish of the day: baklava

If you have a sweet tooth, then you'll know all about this indulgent dessert. Sweet, sticky, chewy unadulterated pleasure – baklava is bliss in bite-sized pieces.

This shamelessly sweet pastry can be found in different shapes and sizes, bursting with various nut combinations and spice mixes, and brimming with syrupy goodness. Mythos make their Greek baklava with walnuts, pistachio and sesame. Mastihashop serve theirs up with all sorts of ice cream flavours, while Diwan Al Muhanna let you order baklava by the box.

Sticky and sweet

Baklava's based around paper-thin filo pastry. These sheets are layered into a tray, doused in butter and packed with a mixture of cardamom, cinnamon and mixed nuts – normally pistachios, almonds or chopped walnuts.

Once the layers have been built up, the tray is baked in the oven and as soon as it's done, it's drenched in a sweet syrup made from honey, water, sugar and lemon juice. Eat squares of it still-warm, or wait for it to cool for that trademark crispy-yet-sticky texture to set in.

How baklava began

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The first real evidence of baklava stretches right back to the 8th century BC – so you know baklava's good when it's been around for this long. Ancient Assyrians' initial take on it involved layering unleavened flat bread with chopped nuts, saturating it in honey and then baking it.

Since then, baklava has gone through some changes. But the sweet sandwich of pastry and nuts that we know and love today can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, when filo first got swapped in. What started off as a simple pastry dessert soon grew in popularity and was adapted to suit the sweet tooth of dignitaries and the rich. It became a luxury that only the wealthy could afford. These days, you can get it everywhere – but it's still best served up at special occasions.

Variations on a theme

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Thanks to its long and muddled history, many cultures lay claim to baklava. Authentic Greek restaurant Mythos offer up baklava as a dessert, filled with a mix of walnut, pistachio and sesame. Their homemade syrup has faintly fruity notes, giving the delicate classic a bit of oomph.

Mastihahsop do their baklava differently, cooking it in round cake tins. Grab a wedge of this pastry pie with your favourite ice cream. Go for green halva-pistachio flavour to carry on the nut theme, or mix it up with something floral like lavender or rose chocolate.

But if you're just not sure what kind of baklava's going to hit the spot, why not get a mix? Diwan Al Muhanna sell baklava by the box, in portions between 250g and 1000g. Get their assorted selection to share with friends, or eat it all yourself – we promise not to judge.

Fill your face and curb that craving with some of the country's best baklava, dropped to your door by Deliveroo.

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