The dessert you see here has nothing to do with the Danish capital and surprisingly, mention of Copenhagen and many Greeks do not even know it exists in the Greek repetoire of desserts. Copenhagen is a syruped dessert that looks like a Baklava on the surface but once you cut into it you see that only the outer layers contain phyllo. The inside of a Copenhagen dessert contains a cake mix similar in texture and taste to a Karydopita.
In this instance, the cake mix contains both ground almonds and walnuts and the mix gets its light, airy texture by whipping egg whites into a meringue then folding in the remaining ingredients before pouring into the phyllo pastry-lined pan. I served this dessert last week at my Christmas dinner at Megas on the Danforth (Toronto’s Greektown) and it was a huge hit! Copenhagen
1 lb. of unsalted butter, melted
Half of (1 lb. package) of frozen phyllo pastry, thawed overnight in fridge
For the filling
1 1/2 cups ground almonds
1 cup ground walnuts
2 cups of dry bread crumbs (coarse)
2 cups of fine semolina
8 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. of brandy
1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
For the syrup 3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups water three strips of lemon peel
juice of 1/2 lemon
- Let’s make the syrup first. Add all the syrup ingredients into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to cool.
- To make the filling, separate the yolks from the whites into two large bowls. Add sugar to the egg yolks and beat with a hand mixer then add the brandy and continue to mix until creamed.
- In a third bowl, add the almonds, walnuts, breadcrumbs, semolina, baking powder and cinnamon and blend with a fork.
- With the bowl of egg whites, add a pinch of salt and beat well with a stand mixer until you have stiff peaks (meringue).
- Meanwhile, take your phyllo out of the fridge to come to room temperature.
- Now in increments, add meringue into the cream egg mixture, folding in then add nut mixture. Repeat folding in meringue, nut mixture into creamed egg mix until complete.
- Cover the phyllo sheets with a damp towel so they don’t dry out. Take a sheet, brush one side with butter, and lay it into a deep 11 X 9 inch pan with a quarter of it hanging of the top edge. Repeat for the bottom, left and right edges of the pan. Place the fifth sheet directly into the pan, so the entire bottom of pan is covered.
- Now fill the pan with batter and fold in the overhanging phyllo sheets then lay 5 more phyllo sheets (buttering each one with a brush). Tuck the edges of the top phyllo layers with a brush down along the sides.
- Cut into the top layers of phyllo to make your slices then insert whole cloves into the middle of each piece. Preheat your oven to 350F, middle rack for 50–60 minutes or until phyllo is deep gold in colour.
- Take out of the oven and pour the syrup over the entire dessert with a ladle. When the syrup is done, complete cutting the pieces by cutting through each piece to the bottom. Allow to cool and keep uncovered in a cool, dry place (basement or cellar).
. All rights reserved.