The Undisputed Queen of Baklava

By Ms.Gourmet on July 21, 2010 9:30 PM
To say that I have been eagerly awaiting Silvena Rowe's latest book would be a complete and utter understatement as I have been an admirer of her cooking style for some time now. Hence, her latest book Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume is an appreciation of Silvena's rich culinary heritage as she takes the reader on a wonderfully rich, culinary journey through Eastern Mediterranean history.

Accordingly, Silvena manages to capture beautifully in both word and picture the food of this region that speaks so clearly of the celebration and festivity of everyday life, whilst also giving her own personal twist to the classic recipes of the Ottoman tradition.

If you enjoy the subtle interplay between sweet and sour and the fresh and the dried, and if you draw immense pleasure from the flavours of cinnamon, saffron, sumac, honey, scented rose and orange blossom water, then this book is definitely for you.

orangebaklava1.jpg Orange and Vanilla Baklava with Cardamom Syrup

Adapted from Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume


For the Syrup

350g caster sugar

350ml water

1 tbsp orange juice

4 cardamom pods, crushed

For the Baklava

375g packet of filo pastry

120g unsalted butter, melted

3 large oranges

1 vanilla bean, scraped


1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/ 375°F /Gas Mark 5 and butter a 25cm x 30cm baking dish or tin. To make the syrup place the sugar, orange juice, cardamom pods and water in a saucepan and gently bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the syrup becomes thick and glossy. Retrieve the cardamom pods and allow to cool.

2. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add the whole oranges. Simmer for 40-45 or until the oranges are soft, making sure the oranges are covered with water at all times. Remove from the water and allow to cool.

3. Slice the oranges, remove the pips and transfer the cooked orange, including the skin to a food processor and process to a smooth purée. Place puréed orange in a muslin bag or fine cloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Put the orange purée into a bowl and add the vanilla seeds and mix well.

4. Divide the filo pastry into thirds and then line the baking dish with a third of the filo pastry, which has been brushed with melted butter. I fold each sheet of filo in half to fit the baking dish or tin. Evenly spoon half of the orange and vanilla purée and then repeat the process with the filo and orange and vanilla purée finishing with a layer of buttered filo.
5. Using a serrated knife, carefully score the top of the baklava into desired sizes and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 160°C / 300°F/ Gas Mark 2 and cook for a further 15-20 minutes or until golden and puffed up. When the baklava is cooked, remove from the oven and carefully pour the hot syrup tablespoon by tablespoon over the top. Allow to cool and serve with a large dollop of mascarpone.


gt2_logoblock.jpgA Mediterranean Feast of the
Mythic Islands of Malta & Sicily

June 7th-17th, 2011
Ten day fully escorted gastronomic tour

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Recent Comments

  • Ms.Gourmet: Merci! read more
  • MC: I live in the US and would like to buy read more
  • G.: wow! your baklava looks amazing! read more
  • Ms.Gourmet: Heidi let me know when you get the book and read more
  • Ms.Gourmet: You crack me up Meeta! read more
  • Joyce: Yum! These look great. You should stop by my blog read more
  • Charles G Thompson: I am always on the look out for new cook read more
  • heidileon: ok, I'm in. Never heard about this cook book author read more
  • Forager @ The Gourmet Forager: Gorgeous photos - love the macro shot of the baklava read more
  • penny aka jeroxie: Looks so so good! Must try this. I actually did read more