First of, this chocolate orange baklava recipe is the bomb!
Second of, there have been many moments of doubt since I started Ciao Florentina. Many moments when I wanted to press the “ delete “ button on it all, and stick with my recycled paper journal stored away somewhere in a designer shoe box in my closet, where my nosy kids might find it someday.
At least there I could really pour out my heart without having to censor myself, without concerns of being judged and without the fear of failure.
And then I slowly learned that those people judging me, the self-appointed critics, they didn’t really matter; not then and definitely not now. It was just Peluci and I, trying to survive day by day in a place where the Chef’s Special was: What have you done for me lately ?!
And by the end of every day I would start hearing in my head the voice of the happy man from Pretty Woman. You remember him ?
“ Welcome to Hollywood! What’s your dream ? Everybody comes here; this is Hollywood, land of dreams. Some dreams come true, some don’t; but keep on dreaming’ -this is Hollywood. Always time to dream, so keep on dreamin’ “ (Pretty Woman)
And that silly scene of a movie helped me hang on to my little dream through the worst of times; and keep searching for what my heart desired to find: happiness and the meaning of Love. And I just wanted to say to you my lovely friends: Don’t You Ever Give Up On Your Dreams, Ever; no matter how crazy impossible they may seem, because the ones who succeed are those that never give up !
Yesterday was a record day here on Ciao Florentina. The Breakfast Avocado Toast got lots and lots of love as the featured recipe of the day on Foodie !
So I figured such an event calls for celebration, and what better way to do that then with some home-made baklava ?! The absolutely insanely delicious kind, the kind that you don’t have to feel guilty indulging in, because it contains absolutely no refined processed sugars and no yuckies.
The syrup I poured on top is simply made of freshly squeezed orange juice, lemons and lots of raw wild orange blossom honey. Incredibly wholesome.
Worth noting that at first it might seem like way too much syrup, and you might be tempted to only use about half of it, but please use it all. As the Baklava sits away nicely resting, It will absorb every little drop of that out of this world orange honey syrup.
And don’t be like me, lurking around the kitchen stealing corners of the Baklava as soon as it cools down. Have patience kids, I swear it is so much better after a few hours and even better the next day. I drizzled super dark chocolate over the top because really, why not ?! Oranges and chocolate simply belong together; garnished with ground pistachios and a few flakes of coarse sea salt for that “Je ne se qui “ factor.
Dream Big ! xo’s, Florentina
- 16 oz package fillo dough organic, defrosted
- 3/4 lb walnuts roughly ground
- 3/4 lb pistachios roughly ground
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Zest from 1 orange
- 3 sticks butter melted organic
- 1-2 tbsp coarse se salt for garnish
- 3 oz dark chocolate for garnish
- 1/4 c ground pistachios for garnish
- a pinch of coarse sea salt for garnish
- For The Honey Orange Syrup:
- 20 oz raw wild honey preferably orange blossom
- 1 1/4 c orange juice freshly squeezed
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- Zest from 1 orange
Preheat your oven to 350”F. In a bowl combine the nuts, cinnamon and half of the orange zest, set aside. Brush a 9x13 inch oven proof dish with some of the butter.
Cut the fillo dough sheets in half and start layering 10 of them in the bottom of the pan, one by one, brushing each one with some of the melted better before topping with another. Sprinkle with a quarter of the nuts all over. Top with 4 more fillo sheets brushing them with melted butter in between. Sprinkle another quarter of the nuts and layer another 4 fillo sheets on top. Sprinkle with another quarter of the nuts and 4 more fillo dough sheets. Top with the rest of the nuts and the remaining 10 layers of fillo sheets, making sure you brush each one of them with butter in between. Using a sharp knife cut the Baklava into 2 inch strips, then slightly angled horizontal cuts to create a diamond pattern. Or just do squares or whatever shape you like, only make sure to do it before baking it.
Bake the Baklava in the preheated oven for 1 hour until golden brown on top.
Meanwhile make the the honey orange syrup by whisking together the orange juice, lemon juice, honey and the remaining orange zest. Pour it all over the Baklava once it comes out of the oven. Allow it to sit at room temperature for a few hours or overnight for the baklava to soak it all up.
To melt the chocolate, break it into small pieces and place it in the top pan of a double boiler over hot water. Stir until nicely melted and using a spoon drizzle some all over the Baklava. Garnish with the crushed pistachios and sea salt flakes and enjoy !
Make sure to keep the fillo dough moist with a wet tea towel while assembling the Baklava.