The Boiler House food hall houses Gozleme, this wonderful vegetarian and vegan street food stall, and I was surprised to see they had veganised one of my favourite Turkish desserts. Gozleme’s version is perfect if you avoid dairy and want to limit your refined sugar: the syrup is partly made with agave syrup, a lovely natural sweetener. Baklava is very sweet so this recipe will satisfy a big group - great served as petits fours at a gathering. Most commonly available filo pastry brands are vegan but check before you buy.
Finely chop the walnuts in a food processor, then add the cinnamon. Melt the margarine in a small pan. Place a sheet of filo in the baking tin, then brush with melted margarine and repeat until you have a base of ten brushed sheets.
Spread a quarter of the walnut and cinnamon mixture in a layer on top and cover with five more sheets of pastry, brushing each with the margarine as you go. Make three more layers of walnuts, each separated by five sheets of filo pastry. Cover the final layer of walnuts with ten sheets of filo, each brushed with margarine apart from the very top one.
Using a sharp knife, slice the baklava into small diamonds or squares, then brush the top with margarine and put in the oven.
About ten minutes before the baklava is ready, prepare the syrup. Place the sugar, agave syrup, lemon juice and cloves in a pan with 230ml water. Simmer over medium-low heat for four or five minutes until small bubbles appear over the surface and you have a light syrup. Remove the cloves.
Take the baklava out of the oven and pour the hot syrup evenly over it. Leave to cool and absorb the syrup before serving.
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