Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Walnut and Stilton Savory Baklava

Happy 2011 everybody! I am going to buck the trend of posting boring bland diet food for the month of January. The post-holiday season is depressing enough without having to read recipes using iceberg lettuce and canned tuna. No, I refuse to be a part of that austerity. Instead I am going to post something fabulous. This savory Baklava.

I made this luxurious little devil for our NYETDS party because after Christmas I had quite a bit of excellent english blue stilton cheese leftover and I wanted to find a way to show it off. At first I was going to make small tarts with stilton and walnuts that would be garnished with a relish of pears, honey and black pepper. But that sounded too fussy and I was worried the pears wouldn't keep more than a couple hours. Then I thought about making a savory Baklava. After a quick Google search, I found a recipe for precisely what I wanted from chef Kelly Wangard at Paso Robles Inn Steakhouse in Paso Robles, California.

The recipe is simple and elegant and the result is phenomenal! I have modified the recipe to use more phyllo dough so the appetizer is easier to serve (and eat). I have also scaled it waaaaaaaay back. These are extremely rich appetizers and a small serving is quite filling.

These are great on their own with a glass of red wine, but would also be an excellent accompaniment to a simple arugula salad.

Walnut and Stilton Savory Baklava
serves 12

12 sheets of phyllo dough, cut into 8" x 8" squares.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
12 oz. walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
12 oz. good quality English blue stilton cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 300F. Place walnuts on a large baking sheet and toast until fragrant (about 15- 20 minutes; tossing nuts occasionally to avoid scorching). Cool nuts completely.

Increase oven temperature to 400F.

Combine nuts and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and chop until very fine. Cut 12 sheets of phyllo dough into 8" x 8" squares. Place one sheet of cut phyllo dough in the bottom of an 8" x 8" baking pan, and brush with melted butter. Top with a second sheet of phyllo and brush with butter. Top with a third sheet of dough and brush with butter. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nuts and sugar on top of dough, then sprinkle with 1/3 of the crumbled stilton cheese.

Repeat layering, using three sheets of phyllo, each brushed with butter between each layer of nuts and cheese. The final layer of phyllo dough should be on top and should also be brushed with butter.

With a very sharp knife, carefully cut the baklava into 2-inch squares in the pan. Bake in 400 F oven for 30 minutes until pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Re-cut the baklava with a sharp knife following the earlier cut lines.

Before baking...

And after baking!

Carefully remove baklava from pan and blot on a double layer of paper towels to blot extra melted butter away. Carefully cut each square in half diagonally to make triangles. Serve warm or at room temperature.


  1. I made a pan of this yesterday to take to a dinner party, and they were a huge hit! We ate 2/3 of them as appetizers and the rest as dessert... definitely a keeper recipe, and I'll check out the Steakhouse next time I'm anywhere near Paso Robles. Thanks

    1. Hi Floribunda (cool name)
      So happy to hear you made this and it was a success! I agree this dish is fabulous as both an appetizer and a dessert (insanely good with fresh figs or pears). Thanks for the feedback! Happy eating!
      Mama Ozzy