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Background

I am making a sweet recipe of Baklava, which calls on ghee or clarified butter. So the butter substitute would be used to paint on the layers of filo pastry before baking.

My problem

When reading the ingredients list I instinctively substituted butter for sunflower spread as an acceptable dairy free alternative, not realising the process I would have to expose it to.

Question

Now given what is the desired outcome of clarified butter, I’m assuming this wouldn’t work by using sunflower spread? .. Or would it?

If not, any suggestions to how I can get around this mess without butter?

The instructions I have for making clarified butter

Melt the 1 1/2 cups (340g/ 12oz) butter slowly over medium low heat until the milk solids have separated from the butterfat. and collected on the bottom of the saucepan. Remove the pan from heat, let the butter settle for 10 minutes, then carefully skim the foam from the surface with a spoon. Slowly pour the clear butterfat into a bowl, leaving all the milk solids behind in the saucepan. You should end up with about 1 1/8 cup (255g/ 9oz) clarified butter.

Any thoughts, suggestions or workarounds much appreciated!

I'm making baklava, so the butter substitute would be used to paint on the layers of filo pastry before baking.

3

The clarifying process of the butter is irrelevant here, what is relevant is the recipe in which you will be using the fat.

Baklava is absolutely forgiving. Use any fat you want - butter, liquid oil, or a spread. I have made it and eaten it with all kinds of fat, it works. The only thing to keep in mind is flavor, you don't want to use some kind of highly flavored oil that doesn't fit the taste profile. Use either a low-flavor fat or a nut oil, especially one that matches the nuts in the baklava itself (typically walnuts) and all will be good.

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"Spreads" are not an effective substitute for clarified butter for filo pastry, because they contain water and emulsifiers. The purpose of the clarified butter in filo pastry is to keep the layers separate, and water-containing spreads will encourage the layers to stick together. If you don't want to use butter, substitute vegetable shortening, like Crisco.

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Simon.

Which recipe are you trying to make?

Keep in mind that sunflower spread is an emulsified product, so it should give a much denser structure to the final product if used as a replacement for clarified butter.

I would recommend trying out two recipes, one with sunflower spread and another with clarified butter, that way you can see for yourself which one worked out the best for your intent.

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  • I'm making baklava, so the butter substitute would be used to paint on the layers of filo pastry before baking. Thanks
    – Simon
    Mar 16 at 3:40
  • @Simon Could you add that information to your question to be sure everyone can see it and that it doesn't get deleted? Cheers
    – Spagirl
    Mar 16 at 14:55

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