Vegan Baklava & Yoga Retreat with Roo Hasan
With partial roots in India and mind, body and soul in the Alps, Chef Roo Hasan’s take on food is not only international but one that oozes ‘comfort’. My discovery of her culinary skills was a consequence of her writing to me about an Alpine yoga retreat- ‘Bluerise’ that she caters for. Being driven by food, I requested her to share a vegan recipe with us and she obliged. But first let me share the link to Bluerise yoga retreat that takes places in Chamonix - https://blueriseretreats.com/woocommerce/shop/
And if you are one of those who plan retreats based on food then look at a sample menu she shared with us, totally vegan of course-
Apple And Pear Overnight Oats, Stem Ginger, Blackberries, Teasoaked Raisins, Toasted Almonds
Homemade Granola And Coconut Yoghurt
Spiced Chai Chia Seed Parfait
Local Bread And Homemade Preserves
Cardamom & Peach Quinoa Porridge With Poached Fig
Fermented Mexican Beans And Avocado
Spinach & Kimchi Gyoza With Miso Dressing
Sesame Ginger Tofu Poke Bowl
Mango, Passionfruit, Matcha & Sesame Cheesecake
Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad
Wild Garlic And Morel Ragout With Truffle Oil Semolina
Blood Orange And Almond Polenta Cake With Coconut Yoghurt
Pan-roasted Asparagus With Wild Garlic And White Bean Hummus,
Spring Onion And Hazelnut Pesto
Braised Mushrooms With Spelt, Baby Gem, Tofu Dressing And
Pumpkin Seed Butter
Rhubarb & Custard Labneh With Ginger Crumble
Tomato Tarka Dal
Smokey Aubergine, Black Cardamom And Coconut Curry
Gujarati Spiced Padrones
Selection Of Homemade Chutneys, Pickles And Ferments
Marsala Poached Pears, Cardamom Cream & Pistachio Brittle
I am tempted to get on the plane, along with my yoga mat, just for that food. But for now let’s move on to the one this post is all about- ‘Vegan Baklava’. Is there anything more decadent than a slice of Baklava?
In Roo’s words, “To me, it feels like the gold, frankincense and myrrh of desserts - something to bring out for a really special occasion.”
The history of Baklava is rich and disputed; a national dessert claimed by many different nations with a rich history in the Ottoman kitchens. To read more about the origins of the delicious dessert, this summary of a romantic story by Alexandra M. Lord is a lovely read.
Here is the recipe for Roo Hasan’s baklava, which she has specially updated to be vegan. “I served it with whipped coconut cream at the end of a Persian-inspired meal for clients not so long ago. It was the perfect end to a meal with a pot of fresh mint tea. I find the added citrus takes away some of that toothache inducing sweetness and lifts out the other flavours. When it comes to nuts, I usually just use whatever I have at hand in the back of the cupboard, however I think the best mix is half walnut for texture, a quarter pistachio for colour and indulgence, a quarter hazelnut for bite and contrast.”, says the chef
Vegan Baklava Filling & Assembling
4 cups nuts
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp orange zest
1/4 tsp salt
450g phyllo pastry (most varieties in stores are vegan; check ingredients)
1 cup light olive oil
1 cup granulated sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 cinnamon stick
Peel of half an orange
Preheat the oven to 180°C
Prepare a baking pan by oiling the bottom and sides.
Pulse the nuts in a food processor with the spices, orange zest and salt until well chopped/ combined
To assemble, place 10 layers of phyllo dough one-by-one on the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan, brushing each lightly with oil.
Spread 1/5 of the nutty mixture evenly on top (about 2/3 cup).
Add another 5 layers of phyllo one-by-one, brushing each with oil, then add another layer of nuts.
Add 5 oiled sheets of phyllo, then another layer of nuts. Repeat x 4. Finish off with 10 layers of oiled phyllo sheets. Brush the very top with oil.
Bake the baklava for 50 minutes, until golden on the edges and tops.
In the meantime, bring all the syrup ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let syrup cool whilst the baklava bakes..
Remove the citrus peels and cinnamon stick, and pour the hot syrup evenly over the baklava.
Let the baklava cool completely at room temperature for 8 hours (uncovered, to prevent sogginess). Serve with whipped coconut cream with cardamom folded into it or vegan vanilla ice cream for a real special touch!
You can contact Roo Hasan for further info/recipes/writing, collaborations, supper clubs, or if you're in need of a traveling chef- https://www.pompomcatering.com/
For more on the Bluerise yoga retreat check- https://blueriseretreats.com