Jane Wood of Gameal’s Cedar Cafe and her brother, landscaper Anthony Koury, prepare an exotic feast that celebrates their Lebanese heritage


  • 500g chopped walnuts
  • 120g granulated sugar
  • 15ml ground cinnamon
  • 15ml brandy
  • 15ml rose water
  • 15ml freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • half packet of phyllo pastry, defrosted
  • 200g melted butter
  • double thick yoghurt or whipped cream, to serve

For the syrup:

  • 600g granulated sugar
  • 600ml water
  • 30ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 15ml honey
  • 15ml rose water


1. Boil the syrup ingredients together until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool.
2. Make the filling by mixing the walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, brandy, rose water and lemon juice together.
3. Unroll the pastry sheets and cut them to fit your baking dish. Layer half of the pastry sheets, brushing melted butter between them, in the bottom of the dish.
4. Top with the filling. Layer the remaining pastry sheets on top, brushing each sheet with melted butter as you go. Cut into diamond shapes, but not all the way through.
5. Bake at 200°C for about 35 minutes until lightly golden.
6. Pour the chilled syrup over the baklava, reserving some to pour over when serving. (Don’t remove the baklava from the baking dish until it’s cooled.)
7. Serve with plain double thick yoghurt or fresh whipped cream.

This recipe serves 8.