Maple Apple Baklava – Argo

The film:

 The dish:

The reason:

Tehran in November 1979 wasn’t a terrific place for six American diplomats to be hiding out in the Canadian embassy. Thank goodness for CIA operative Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) and ‘the best bad idea we have’. A phony science fiction film scouting mission and a cluster of fake Canadian identities might just work better than a bunch of bicycles, training wheels and being met at the border with gatorade.

As for this dish? There are no sports drinks or spokes at play here. What you’ll find are are vulnerable slices of a filling as American as apple pie, trapped beneath layer after layer of Persian spiced baghlava/baklava. The best way to hold it together and rescue some from its hiding place is to ensure it’s smothered in a cloak of Canadian identity (aka maple syrup).  But be careful. Things are going to get hot before you can safely relax with a piece of pie and a cup of coffee. You’ll need to heat both the syrup and the pastries before combining them- and then they’ll need to sit quietly for a good six hours so they can get accustomed to their new identity. But be patient – just like Argo, in all good rescue missions, timing is everything.

The way:

Maple Apple Baklava/Baghlava

Makes 16-20 pieces. Nb, make at least 5 hours ahead of serving.


1 baking dish, the size of a sheet of A4 paper. Food processor. Damp tea towel. Pastry brush. Sharp knife.


For the syrup

300 ml maple syrup
50 ml water

For the baklava

200 grams  shelled pistachio nuts (chopped in a processor until medium fine)
125 grams blanched almonds (chopped in a processor until medium fine)
1. 5 teaspoons of ground cardamom,
125 grams unsalted butter (melted)
600 grams filo pastry
3 medium cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into 16ths
2 tablespoons of corn starch/cornflour


1) Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F.

2) Take a baking dish  the size of an A4 sheet of paper and brush it well with butter, then line the bottom with baking paper.

4) Place the filo pastry to one side, covered with a damp towel. Brush one sheet of filo with butter and place in the bottom of the dish. If it is wider than the dish, just fold it back upon itself. Repeat with two more sheets. Place half the apple slices one neat layer over the top of the pastry sheets. Dust with half of the corn flour/cornstarch.

5) Add four more sheets of pastry, buttering between each layer.  Add the remaining apples and dust with cornstarch.

6) Add the nuts and the cardamom over the top of the apples.

7) Add the remaining sheets of pastry, buttering between each layer.

8) Cut parallel lines 4-5cm apart to form diamonds, making sure you cut right through to the apples at the bottom of the tin.

9) Bake for 30 minutes, until the filo has puffed up.

10) To make the syrup bring the maple syrup water and water to the boil and keep boiling for two minutes.

11) Pour the hot syrup over the hot baklava. Leave to rest for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight before cutting and serving.


  1. First of all, I love this idea. So clever – you’ve done it again.

    Secondly, this looks delicious.

  2. I have not had a chance to see Argo yet but this recipe makes me want to watch it tonight…eating this.

  3. I’ve been looking forward to this one, and I love what you’ve done here! Very clever!

  4. I try not to read the recipe until I’ve seen the movie. I love this idea, and I love your dedication to symbolism through food!!! xxxxx

  5. This is awesome, just like the movie. I’m going out on a limb and saying it’s going to win Best Picture. I was literally on the edge of my seat and during the super intense times i wanted/needed to pace the aisle in the movie theatre, but that probably isn’t allowed. Plus Ben Affleck had his shirt off onece 🙂

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