Baklava (Μπακλαβάς)Apr 28th, 2009 | By Peter Minakis | Category: Almonds, Butter, Dessert, Festive, Greek, Honey, How To, Lemon, Nuts, Phyllo, Recipes, Sweets, Syrup
Finally…a baklava recipe and some background and opinion on this dessert, popular all around the world.
The origins of Baklava can be traced to Turkey (which is fine by me) and rather than focus on the differences between Greeks and Turks, I try and focus on the similarities between the two peoples.
Relations between the Greeks and Turks have in no way been harmonious but we are neighboring countries, both passionate and we share an affinity for similar foods. I saw this similarity when I visited Istanbul (Constantinople) 1997.
Baklava is enjoyed all around the world and I’ve seen it made by Greeks, Turks, Syrians, Lebanese and other nations in the Middle-East and Near-East. Each baklava has it’s own defining “touch” to it.
Many of the Greek Baklavas use walnuts in the filling, the Turks leaning towards pistachios, the Lebanese liking a dryer version, the Greeks like to douse it in the syrup and the Turks, proudly using lots of butter in their baklava process.
Here’s where the Greeks can lay some ownership to Baklava: Phyllo is synonymous with Greek cuisine, right? Greeks were the first to employ the use of phyllo in making baklava. In the original Turkish version of Baklava, yufka-leaves were used. Yufka were thin, unleavened flats of pastry but nowhere hear as thin as the hand-rolled and see-through Greek phyllo.
I encourage you to make Baklava, it’s really not that hard. Again, buy your phyllo from a store with a high turnover (that means fresh, easy to work with phyllo), thaw it overnight in the fridge before using), be organized with your ingredients (mise en place) and work quickly.
Here, my family’s version uses chopped walnuts, almonds and some ground rusk as a binder. You may use an other nut of choice, add some dried fruit into the mix, cut your baklava into your preferred shape. As stated before, some Greeks like their baklava very syrupyÂ – this one is not one of those.
Do not be intimidated by phyllo, it really is an easy pastry to work with and the applications with both savory and sweet dishes will open up your cooking repertoire. Why not start with Baklava?
one 10″X12″ baking vessel (about 2 inches deep)
pre-heated 300F oven (middle rack)
1 package of commercial phyllo (454gr.)
(thawed overnight in the fridge)
1 cup of melted , clarified butter
2 cups of walnuts
2 cups of roasted & skinned almonds
1/2 tsp. ground clove
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 cup of ground rusk
1 cup of water
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/4 cup of honey
juice of 1/4 lemon
- In a food processor, pulse your walnuts, almonds into a crumbly, grainy consistency. Now ground your rusks and add into a bowl with the remaining filling ingredients. Set aside. Take your phyllo out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature (15 minutes). Pre-heat your oven and have melted butter ready.
- Grease your baking pan with your choice of vegetable oil. Lay four sheets of phyllo overhanging halfway over each of the four sides. Now place one sheet of phyllo to directly into the pan (total of 5 phyllo sheets). Remember to brush melted butter between each sheet of phyllo.
- Sprinkle a layer of filling over the area of phyllo. Repeat each layer (4 sheets of phyllo) followed by equal amounts of nut filling (5 phyllo sheets bottom + 4 sheets X 3 layers + 4-5 sheets of phyllo for top layer).
- Now fold in those overhanging flaps from the bottom layer of phyllo. Now place the remaining sheets of phyllo to finish your top layer (folding the phyllo to fit the dimensions of your baking vessel is perfectly fine).
- Brush your top layer of phyllo with a good coating of melted butter. Using a sharp knife, cut the phyllo into your desired shaped for the pieces of Baklava (important to do this step before baking). Insert whole cloves into the center of each piece (optional). Bake in your pre-heated oven for 90 minutes or until light brown.
- Prepare your syrup by adding your water, sugar, honey and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Now add your lemon juice and bring to a boil then simmer for another 10 minutes.
- There are two ways to introduce the syrup to your Baklava: hot baklava and cold syrup or cold baklava and hot syrup – it’s your choice. My family prefers hot baklava and cold syrup. Use a ladle to pour the syrup over the entire surface of the Baklava.
- Allow to cool before serving and to allow the syrup to penetrate the entire dessert. Store in an airtight container at room temperature (NEVER place in the fridge).
If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or atÂ http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.
Â© 2007-2009 Peter Minakis
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© 2009 – 2010, Peter Minakis. All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.