Sunday, November 13, 2011

Baklava Ice Cream

I can remember my first experience with baklava.  I was about 12 and my Mom had brought home some food from a restaurant called the "Olive Tree" for dinner that night.  It was my first exposure to Middle Eastern food and it was all wonderful...the tabouli, the crunchy falafel in pita pockets, and the stuffed grape leaves. But my favorite was the dessert.  The baklava, which was incredibly sweet and honey filled, and so crunchy with the many layers of carefully placed filo dough and nuts.  I would often times ask if we could pick up dinner from there just so I could have the baklava for dessert.  Now as an adult, many baklavas are too sweet for my tastes.  I had some at the state fair a few years back and it was bathed in way too much honey and sticky that the filo was no longer crisp. I guess I am pretty picky about my baklava now, and if I find some good baklava I am in heaven. I have made a few batches myself that met my standards, and I have to say it disappears quickly around my house!   I was browsing a cooking magazine last week and I came across a baklava cheesecake!  It sounded amazing, but I wasn't looking for something that rich to make at the time.  I had baklava on my mind after that though, and I decided that I must make something featuuring all of its delicious flavors. 

I was craving ice bingo!  Baklava ice cream would be perfect!  I thought I could even make some filo cups to serve it in so the wonderful crunchy filo part of it would not be lost. 

Now, I know traditional baklava has walnuts but I decided to put my own twist on it and use some almonds as well.  I included a bit of almond butter in the base to make it wonderfully silky and melt in your mouth as well as almonds in my crunchy nut mix that was to be mixed into the ice cream and sprinkled over it to serve. 

I added a good amount of cinnamon as well, and honey to give it the traditional baklava flavor.  It was wonderful!  Ok, so the filo cups were a little putzy, but once the dish was plated it was lovely.  More importantly though it was delicious.  All of the traditional things I love about baklava were there. Sticky sweet honey and the crunchy nuts and filo, but the ice cream added a rich element that made it even better!  I shared some with my Mom who is also a baklava lover and she approved.  We even talked about our past baklava buying and all the good memories associated with it.  I love it when I can put my own twist on a dessert and it brings back good memories!  I have included the recipe here if you would like to experience it as well! 

Baklava Ice Cream  
Makes 6 cups

Crunchy nuts:
1 cup sliced almonds
1 1/2 cups walnuts
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp maple sugar or granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 375.  Lay out a piece of foil and spray with non-stick spray.  In a bowl, mix together nuts, honey, sugar, cinnamon, and sea salt and toss until well combined.  Spread out on sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes until nuts are fragrant and toasted. Remove from oven and let cool.  You will have extra for serving the ice cream.
Filo Cups:
6 sheets filo dough
coconut oil, warmed to liquid
maple sugar or granulated sugar
To make filo cups, lay out 1 piece of filo dough.  Brush it all over with coconut oil, then sprinkle with maple sugar and a little cinnamon.  fold in half and repeat.  Fold in half again and repeat, so that you still have a rectangle.  Repeat and fold in half so that you have a square.  Brush the top with coconut oil, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and fit into a muffin tin so that you have a cup.  Repeat with remaining 5 pieces of filo dough and when all the cups are formed, bake in a 375 degree oven until crisp and browned, about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, let cool and remove cups from tin. 
Ice Cream:
3 cups organic full fat coconut milk, chilled
3/4 cup local honey
1/2 cup smooth roasted almond butter (no sugar added)
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp orangeflower water
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup crunchy nuts from above
crunchy nuts, filo cups and honey for serving

Combine all ingredients in a blender (except crunchy nuts), and process until well blended.  Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to package directions (mine takes about an hour, and is still a little soupy like the consistency of a malt, but firms up in the freezer later). Once processed, pour 1/3 into a freezable container with a lid, then scatter about 1/3 cup nuts over.  Pour half remaining ice cream over, then more nuts, then the remaining ice cream and nuts.  Swirl with a knife to distribute nuts throughout and place in the freezer for at least a few hours, or overnight to firm up for best results. To serve, scoop some ice cream into a filo cup, top with some of the extra nuts and drizzle with honey!


  1. I may just have died. This sounds too good to be true!

  2. Oh, Amy! You've done it again...I have fabulous memories of trying my first slice of baklava as a child, too...and your ice cream sounds heavenly!!!

  3. What a great idea! Most baklavas are indeed too sweet and by making your own you are in controle. These would make great party food.

  4. I don't know if you've ever seen the show "Sweet Genius" but you should consider participating. This ice-cream is a genius idea!

  5. I think this reminds of fried ice cream as well. Either way the ice cream looks unbelievably delicious. I wish I had some right now!

  6. This is an amazing and creative dessert you have here. I am glad you chose to create this instead of the cheesecake. Very impressive.

  7. Amy, this sounds amazingly fantastic! I LOVE Baklava. I tend to buy or make it only around Christmas so this is perfect for me. I can make this to go with my real baklava! YUM!

  8. Seriously!?!?! I just ate, but I am craving this! You definitely took great and made it greater!

  9. Beautiful! I'm sure it's very tasty

  10. What a amazing creation!. I had to pin it for you.

  11. YUMMO..This looks awesome..You have made perfectly dear..

    my blog

  12. Gosh, Amy. I remember tasting my first one in Greece and it was so sweet my teeth hurt. Your dessert looks absolutely amazing. Great twist on the original. What inspiration!

  13. This is such a great idea! Very inspirational. We live near a Middle Eastern foods center so we often get baklava. They probably sell orange water there too. If I don't have any, do you think a bit of orange juice would work?

  14. This is fantastic. I love baklava but I'm with you - it's usually too sweet. I love that you made this into ice cream!

  15. Amy, I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw the title of this post! OMFG, this sounds (and looks) amazing!