Raw Baklava with Saffron Ice Cream

I can remember the first time I had baklava.  I was at a Middle Eastern restaurant and I decided to try some.    After all, walnuts in crispy paper thin pastry with sweet honey sounded awfully delicious!  The mad behind the counter dished out a large piece just oozing with honey.  I sat down at a table and was salivating.  I couldn't wait to dive in.  It was amazing...the sweet honey, the crunchy nuts, the crispy filo and scent of rosewater.  How had I never tried this heavenly creation before?

That was back in high school, and since then I have always thought that baklava was delicious.  Well, most of it.  I have had some at times that has so much honey that it is far too gooey and the filo gets weighed down.  But a good Middle Eastern restaurant will serve perfect balanced baklava.

I hadn't had any baklava in a while, because I am trying to stay away from refined sugars and flours and I know the traditional version has plenty of sugar...which is what makes it so sweet.  Although I have made a few versions at home in the past using only maple syrup or coconut nectar and they were wonderful, I decided that I wanted to create a raw vegan version last weekend.

I made crispy "filo" layers that were more like tuiles or abstract versions of the filo, but still delicious out of apples and almonds laced with cinnamon. They went perfectly with the sweet walnut filling I created, adding in some coconut and dates for extra deliciousness.

The baklava had it all, crunchy, sweet and nutty...well, almost all.  It needed to be served with a creamy element I decided, and what better than ice cream?  So I made a raw saffron ice cream to accompany it.  As a whole, it was wonderful and I couldn't help but be in my happy place while enjoying it.  It was so good I didn't even share this time.

Raw Baklava with Saffron Ice Cream
Serves 2

"Filo" sheets:
1 large organic apple
1/2 cup almond meal
a pinch of sea salt
1 tsp raw coconut nectar or maple syrup
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup walnuts
6 dates
1 cup large flake coconut
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp rosewater
2 Tbsp raw coconut nectar or maple syrup plus additional for serving

For the "filo sheets", combine the apple, almond meal, sea salt, nectar, and cinnamon in a food processor and process until smooth.  Spread out thinly onto a teflex lined dehydrator sheet in a large square.  Dry for a few hours, or until not tacky anymore, then score into 9 squares.  Place back in the dehydrator for about another 6-8 hours or until very crispy.  Remove squares (you will have one extra to snack on).
For the filling, combine walnuts, dates, coconut, and cinnamon and rosewater in a food processor and pulse until well combined but not pureed.  You want to have chunks still.  Add 2 Tbsp nectar and pulse a few more times.  Remove from the food processor.
To assemble, set out 2 plates.  Drizzle each with a bit of the nectar.  Place one filo square on each, and top with 1/3 of the walnut mixture (deviding evenly between the two).  Top each with another square, then half the remaining filling (deviding evenly between the two).  Then another square, then the rest of the filling then another square.  Drizzle each baklava with a bit more nectar, and scoop some saffron ice cream beside each (recipe follows).  Enjoy!

Raw Saffron Ice Cream:
a large pinch safforn
1/2 cup coconut water
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
1 cup young coconut meat, chopped
1/4 cup raw coconut nectar
1 tsp rosewater
seeds of one vanilla bean
a pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed to liquid

Warm the coconut water to 100 degrees or so, and place the saffron in it to steep.  Let sit until cooled.  Add to a food processor, along with cashews, coconut meat, nectar, rosewater, vanilla, and sea salt.  Process until smooth, then with the processor running, add the coconut oil slowly and process until well incorporated, about a minute. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to directions.  Remove from ice cream maker, and pour into a freezer safe container.  Let chill in the freezer for a few hours until a little more firm before scooping.

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About the Author

I am a vegan girl who loves to make healthier desserts and dishes with lots of veggies. Recipes are meant to be shared, that is why I started blogging!

  1. Sunnie
    October 2, 2012 at 12:20

    What a beautiful take on Baklava! Though the traditional descritption of Baklava sounds delicious, I've yet to try a good one; I once sampled a piece, only to be overwhelmed by a rush of sugar (the filo was quite heavy as well, not all light and crisp). YOURS, however, looks amazing. I just need to invest in a dehydrator now! Will have to try . . . :)

    • October 2, 2012 at 23:22

      Thanks Sunnie :)! One time I was given a piece of baklava that was so soaked with honey, that was all I could taste, not crispy at all...very overwhelming. Luckilly this raw version is balanced ;)!

  2. October 2, 2012 at 12:27

    I have been looking for a good gluten-free & vegan baklava! I got so excited when I saw this. It sounds delicious. I need a dehydrator asap!!

    • October 2, 2012 at 23:27

      Thanks so much Alaine :)! It made me excited as well ;)!

  3. October 2, 2012 at 13:36

    your recipes are so awesome! xoxo

    • October 2, 2012 at 23:29

      Thanks so much :)!

  4. October 2, 2012 at 15:34

    Amazing Amy! This is such an original take on the traditional Baklava. I had only made it with apple slices before, but that was rather messy. Your solution is brilliant! I have been experimenting with fruit leathers & crackers, but I just hadn't thought of this one. Respect :)

    • October 2, 2012 at 23:31

      Thank you :)! I thought about using dehydrated apple slices as the filo, but then decided to go for the tuile type filo instead. Luckilly it worked out ;)!

  5. October 2, 2012 at 16:02

    you are so inventive! and artful, and GENEROUS to share it with us all! A beautiful creation. x

    • October 2, 2012 at 23:32

      Thanks so much :)! It makes me happy to share with you all!

  6. October 2, 2012 at 16:48

    Hi Amy, Your baklava looks amazing. Sorry I haven't dropped by lately as I've been pretty busy. I hope everything is well!

    • October 2, 2012 at 23:33

      Thanks so much :)! It is alright, I have been a bit of the same ;)! Everything is well with me! I hope you doing good as well!

  7. October 2, 2012 at 17:12

    Look scrumptious - you are so creative with your choices and ideas - wondering if there's a cookbook in your future...

    • October 2, 2012 at 23:35

      Thanks so much Claudia :)! I am planning on writing a cookbook, when I get a new computer and I am not so busy ;)!

  8. October 2, 2012 at 20:12

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. October 2, 2012 at 23:46

    Another innovative recipe, Amy!!! I have decided you can make anything "raw" and do it well! Definitely a delicious, beautiful creation~

    • October 3, 2012 at 01:07

      Thanks so much Liz :)!

  10. October 3, 2012 at 02:34

    Amy this looks insanely delicious and "real" lol. You know what I mean - it looks cooked! I would loooove a piece of this. Always enjoyed baklava. Mmmm

    • October 3, 2012 at 11:01

      Thanks so much Heather :)! Dehydrators work magic as you know ;)! Wish I could send you a piece!

  11. October 3, 2012 at 07:37

    okay .. I've really never heard of raw baklava and this sounds insanely delicious. love the way you executed it.

    • October 3, 2012 at 11:02

      Oh...you must find some and try it ;)! Definately something worth seeking out. Thank you :)!

  12. October 3, 2012 at 09:36

    Aha. I remember my first baklava - it was just after our scooter accident on a Greek island and every time we went in to a café, people would gesture driving a bike. How sweet! Grrr. We LOVE baklava and never seen a saffron pairing like this; sounds intriguing, Amy.

    • October 3, 2012 at 11:05

      Bummer that it brings back memories of the scooter accident! It must have been wonderful to eat baklava in Greece though! The real authentic thing. Thank you, I thought the two would play well off each other :)!

  13. Veronica
    November 26, 2012 at 18:24

    Oh, it sounds delicious! I know I like Baklava but I also try to stay away from sugar and wheat flour. To be able to have Baklava and ice cream, guilt free, is so great! My mouth waters just by looking at the picture. Thank you soo much for posting!<br />

    • November 27, 2012 at 13:12

      Thank you so much for your kind words, and for visiting :)!

  14. Susan Clow
    September 6, 2016 at 17:43

    Oh gosh, I'm going to make these so soon. They look just absolutely yummy. Mouth is watering.

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