Savoury spiced baklava

Savoury spiced baklava
A festive savoury spin on the classic Middle Eastern dessert makes a fantastic vegetarian substitute for turkey this Christmas
  • butternut squash 1kg, peeled and diced
  • olive oil
  • chickpeas 400g tin, drained and rinsed
  • cumin seeds 2 tsp
  • harissa 2 tbsp
  • onions 3, finely chopped
  • leek 1, white part chopped
  • garlic 2 cloves, crushed
  • cooked and peeled chestnuts 180g pack, chopped
  • soft white breadcrumbs 150g
  • coriander a handful, finely chopped
  • sultanas 50g
  • vegetable stock 100ml, hot
  • filo pastry 2 x 270g packs
  • butter 75g, melted
  • feta 200g, crumbled
  • black onion seeds or black sesame seeds 1 tsp
  • runny honey to drizzle
  • dried chilli flakes a pinch, (optional)
  • sea salt flakes
  1. STEP 1
  2. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Put the squash onto a baking tray with 2 tbsp of olive oil and lots of seasoning, then toss. Bake for 10 minutes then add the chickpeas, cumin seeds and harissa, stir everything and cook for a further 20 minutes or until the squash is just tender. Cool, then use a fork to mash ½ of the chickpeas. Turn the oven down to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
  3. STEP 2
  4. Heat another 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan. Cook the onions, leek and garlic for 10-15 minutes or until softened. Put ½ the mixture in a bowl with the chestnuts, breadcrumbs, coriander, sultanas and stock, mix well and season. Stir the remaining onion and leek mixture into the squash and chickpeas.
  5. STEP 3
  6. To assemble the baklava, trim the filo sheets so they fit neatly into a deep 25cm x 35cm baking dish or roasting tin. Brush the dish with melted butter. Brush 4 of the filo sheets with melted butter then layer up in the bottom of the dish. Add ⅓ of the squash mix, ⅓ of the chestnut mix and ⅓ of the crumbled feta.
  7. STEP 4
  8. Top with another 4 sheets of buttered filo and add another ⅓ of each mix. Top with another 4 sheets, then the remaining mixtures, then finish with a final layer of 4 buttered sheets.
  9. STEP 5
  10. Cut a classic bakalava pattern into the pastry all the way through to the bottom layer (see picture on p11). Sprinkle with the onion seeds then bake for 30-40 minutes or until the baklava is deep golden and crisp. Cool for 10 minutes in the tin. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with chilli flakes and sea salt flakes before serving in wedges.