Saraili: Nuts And Sesame In Filo With Syrup

Saraili by Veganopoulous

Here’s another one of my mum’s family recipes I’m excited to share with you. Yay for awesome traditional family recipes that are so easily veganised! Saraili (“sah-RAY-ili”) is quite similar to baklava, in that it contains nuts in filo pastry soaked in a sweet syrup. The differences are the breadcrumbs and sesame added to the filling and the way the filo is assembled.

Saraili requires a large circular baking dish because you lay the filo down in a coil shape. My circular dish measures 34cm (13.25″) across. You could always make less of the recipe and use a pie dish, but mum and I make this in the large dish and share with family and neighbours.

It’s quite an easy dish to make. With a food processor, the filling comes together in a minute. Finely chopped (or lightly ground) walnuts, cinnamon, breadcrumbs, caster sugar and sesame seeds are mixed together, then sprinkled over a sheet of vegan-buttered filo pastry:

Saraili by Veganopoulous

The long edges are folded over an inch each, then the filo is rolled up in to a longer cigar: Saraili by Veganopoulous

The filo cigar is then coiled, with the ‘open’ long edge (what you ended with when you rolled the cigar) facing upwards so filling doesn’t fall out:Saraili by Veganopoulous

Add your next filo cigar so that one end touches the end of the previous coil. Bake until a lovely golden brown, then pour your cooled syrup on top and let it sit for at least a few hours so the filo can soak up the syrup.

Here’s what the finished saraili looks like when surrounded by firewood. And after a greedy relative has picked at the centre and edge before you’ve taken photos. See, it’s so good that people can’t wait:

Saraili by Veganopoulous

The vegan butter may or may not affect the final flavour. If you use a butter with a coconutty taste, you may have a slight coconutty flavour. Some people like to brush on loads of butter but I prefer to take it easy and brush it on sparingly. Any leftover butter can be spread over the top before baking.

Be warned, this is a sweet dessert! Feel free to omit the sugar in the filling if you prefer, so that the sweetness comes from the syrup. Don’t sprinkle too much of the filling on the filo to begin with, in case you run out before you’ve finished. If you run out, don’t worry– you can always cut this up pizza pie style and serve it and nobody will know.

And don’t worry if you tear the filo when rolling, it doesn’t really matter! It doesn’t have to be perfect and if you find rolling and coiling the filo difficult at the start, it gets easier.

If you prefer a plain orange or lemon syrup, go for it!

Just make sure the syrup has cooled completely before pouring it over the baked saraili. And try not to pick at it before taking a photo…

Enjoy!

Saraili by Veganopoulous

 

Saraili by Veganopoulous
Print Recipe
Similar to baklava but coiled in appearance rather than layered, this Saraili contains nuts, cinnamon, breadcrumbs and sesame for its flavours, and is then soaked in a citrus scented sugar syrup after baking. You'll need a large circular baking dish (mine measures 34cm, or 13.25 inches across). The serving size can really vary-- if you cut this up like a pizza in to eight 'slices', one of those slices can be halved for a suitable serving portion, as the Saraili is quite sweet! Gently separate a 'slice', then try to work out if you prefer the centre or the edges!
Servings Prep Time
16 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
16 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Saraili by Veganopoulous
Print Recipe
Similar to baklava but coiled in appearance rather than layered, this Saraili contains nuts, cinnamon, breadcrumbs and sesame for its flavours, and is then soaked in a citrus scented sugar syrup after baking. You'll need a large circular baking dish (mine measures 34cm, or 13.25 inches across). The serving size can really vary-- if you cut this up like a pizza in to eight 'slices', one of those slices can be halved for a suitable serving portion, as the Saraili is quite sweet! Gently separate a 'slice', then try to work out if you prefer the centre or the edges!
Servings Prep Time
16 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
16 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Ingredients
Filling and Filo
Syrup
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (moderate baking temperature). Brush your circular baking dish with a little of the melted butter.
  2. In a food processor, or by hand, finely chop the walnuts. With a food processor, process until there are very small pieces left.
  3. In a bowl, mix the finely chopped walnuts, caster sugar, breadcrumbs, sesame seeds and cinnamon.
  4. Take a sheet of filo and lightly brush it with the melted butter. Sprinkle enough of the filling so that the surface is mostly lightly covered out to the edges.
  5. Take each long edge of the filo and fold it inwards about one inch. Then starting from the edge nearest you, roll up the filo sheet in to a cigar shape. It shouldn't be too tight or too loose but don't worry about getting it perfect!
  6. Starting in the centre of your buttered baking dish, form a tight coil with the filo cigar. The 'open' side of the cigar should face up so no filling falls out. Brush the end of the coil with a little of the butter so it doesn't dry out.
  7. Take your second sheet of filo and repeat the sprinkle-roll up process. Place this second cigar so that one end meets the buttered end of the coil you just made in the dish. Tightly-ish wind the coil (don't worry if you tear the filo) and give the coils a little squeeze now and then to get them nice and tight. You might have to gently shift your big coil now and then if it's not centred when you add another length to the coil.
  8. Repeat until you have filled the baking dish. If there is any remaining melted butter, brush it over the top.
  9. Bake for around 35 minutes, though depending on your oven check at the 25 minute mark and rotate the dish if you need to. Make your syrup while the saraili is baking. When the saraili is done, remove it and immediately pour the cooled syrup all over (it may sizzle a bit so be careful). Try to pour the syrup over as evenly as possible. You may prefer to use a ladle. Let the saraili sit for at least three hours. It tastes better the next day and the day after that and is fine with being kept at room temperature unless it is hot or very humid.
Syrup
  1. In a small or medium saucepan, combine the syrup ingredients on a medium heat. Bring to the boil, stir, then gently simmer for ten minutes with the lid off. Remove from the heat and let cool completely, Remove the cinnamon stick and peel before pouring over the baked saraili.
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15 thoughts on “Saraili: Nuts And Sesame In Filo With Syrup

    • I got this from an Asian emporium store (where they sell cookware, dinnerware etc). It wasn’t expensive at all. I’ve seen them in European and Indian stores too.

  1. I love it when you post your family recipes – they always sounds so delicious. And it is lovely that they are for sharing. I’d love to try this – the coiling appeals to me far more than the layers of baklava and the sesame sounds lovely – I am assuming this is not usually in baklava but don’t eat it often enough to be sure.

  2. I love this, anything with syrup poured over is a favorite but gets eaten too quickly because i can’t stop going back for one more taste

    • ha yes, yesterday I kept springing my relatives going back to the baking dish for “just one more little taste”!

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