Baklava is definitely one of my favorite desserts but I have only made it a couple of times. The first reason being that I don't really like working with filo dough. The second reason was that for years, I had no access to a butter substitute (Earth Balance) and I would never have dreamed of making baklava with vegetable oil. Blasphemy! ;-)
I know I'm exaggerating as Aunt Trudy's Maple Walnut Baklava is absolutely delicious AND made with vegetable oil. Its only problem is that when you have to share with 4 other people, Aunt Trudy doesn't make her baklava big enough ;-)
So for years, no baklava for me... that is until I realized that the vol-au-vent lying around in the freezer since Christmas could not possibly wait until next Christmas. And I needed a dessert, stat!
So here is the result:
And here is the recipe, with absolutely no need to twist one of my arms:
- 6 large vol au vent shells, vegan friendly and uncooked (or more of the tiny variety)
- 300 to 350g of finely chopped walnuts
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 cup organic sugar
- ¾ cup water
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (you will not taste this in the final product)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 or 4 tablespoons Earth Balance Original Buttery Spread
Place the vol au vent shells on a serving platter or dish that has been greased with a bit of melted Earth Balance. Put aside.
Mix the walnuts with the cinnamon. Stuff each shell with the nut mix, and put the rest of the mix around each shell.
In a small pot, mix the water and sugar and heat until all the sugar crystals are dissolved. Add maple syrup, vanilla and the lemon juice and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.
Add Earth Balance and let simmer 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and let cool.
When lukewarm, pour the syrup over the nuts in the middle of each baklava shell and then on the rest of the nut mix around the dish/plate. Add maple syrup if desired.
To serve, share one shell with someone you like :)