Wednesday, October 13, 2010


So, on Friday I made baklava as per my plans. As I took pics of some of the processes, let's do a photo recipe!

1 pound phyllo (filo) dough
1 cup butter, melted and made into clarified butter*
1 cup pistachios, plus another 1/4 cup for garnish
2 cups walnuts
1 scant teaspoon cinnamon (okay, I just shook in however much I wanted, but it was around that much)
1/4 - 1/3 cup sugar (I used somewhere in between)
1 tablespoon rose water
1 batch of syrup (recipe follows)

[These are the original ingredients -- I subbed in ghee rather than clarify the butter myself -- why make more work?]

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine nuts, cinnamon, sugar and rose water in a food processor and pulse until you have a nice, crumbly mixture. Or, alternatively, you could try to chop the nuts in the coffee grinder, and kill the motor, having your fiance continue the nuts by chopping, and then mixing my hand.

Melt the ghee in a small pan, and keep it on low/turn on or off repeatedly.

[There are no pics of the next steps, as my hands were covered with ghee and powder from the phyllo -- but it's pretty simple.]

Brush the bottom of a 13x9 pan generously with the clarified butter, then layer in 16 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each sheet generously with the butter as you layer along, including the top sheet. Sprinkle half of the nut mixture evenly on top of the phyllo, then repeat the process with the next 8 sheets (don't forget to keep brushing on the butter!). After those 8 sheets have been added, evenly sprinkle the remainder of the nut mixture. Then layer the remaining sheets, brushing with butter in between. Some people like to pour the remaining clarified butter over the top, and some people do not. I like to brush on a little extra. You should do it the way you like to. Cut the baklava (if you wait until it's cooked, it won't go as well), either in diamonds or squares. Put the pastry in the oven.

Start making the syrup.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 small cinnamon stick (1-2" long)
10 cardamom pods
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon orange blossom water
[I added a little less sugar, and a bit of honey.]

Combine all of the above, and cook over medium heat, stirring continuously until the sugar melts. Let it continue to cook without stirring for 10-15 minutes, or until it becomes thick and syrupy.

Remove from heat, remove cinnamon and cardamom, then let stand until room temperature.

Bake for about an hour, or until it's nice and golden brown (but not too much so).

As soon as it comes out of the oven, pour the syrup evenly over the baklava and let it hang out overnight at room temperature to soak in. Makes 1 tray.

Verdict? Delicious. A little sweet for me, and I'm not overly a fan of the rose water/orange blossom water, but Mister and his sis were like OM NOM NOM.

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