29 August 2016

Baklava V 1.0

Sometimes there just isn’t any place to put stuff, so it goes here.
This was my first attempt to make this dish and I wound up margin two other recipes plus making some changes of my own.

For reference see:

And my changes all go under the heading: “Prefers Stronger Flavors”

Ingredients:
  • 1package, 40 sheets, phylo dough, brought to room temperature
  • 2 1/2 Sticks of butter
  • 1lb (about 4 cups) Walnuts
  • 1c Salty nuts.(Optional - I used Smokehouse Almonds)
  • 2 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Ground cardamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground cloves
  • 2c Honey
  • 1/2 c Sugar
  • 3/4 c water
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 3 tsp Vanilla 

Steps:
  1. Preheat over to 325°
  2. Make Nuts:
    1. Combine walnuts and (optional) salty nuts in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped but don’t overdo it.
    2. Mix in the cinnamon, cardamon, and cloves and set aside.
  3. Make the Syrup
    1. Combine honey, sugar, water, lemon juice, vanilla and 1/2c of button in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
    2. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and ensuring the sugar gets dissolved.
    3. Set aside and allow to cool.
  4. Make the thing
    1. Melt 2 cups of butter and keep warm enough to stay melted.
    2. Unroll the phylo dough and trim as needed to fit in a 9X13 pan.
    3. Butter the bottom and sides of your pan.
    4. Lay out one sheet of dough and brush lightly with melted butter. Repeat dough/butter/dough until you have 10 stacked and buttered sheets.
    5. Spread 1/5 of the nuts over the dough, about 3/4 cups.
    6. Continue layering the buttered dough and nuts in 5-sheet groups and finish with a 10-sheet top. when you’re done you’ll have the following pattern:
  • 10 sheets of buttered dough
  • 1/5 nuts
  • 5 sheets of buttered dough
  • 1/5 nuts
  • 5 sheets of buttered dough
  • 1/5 nuts
  • 5 sheets of buttered dough
  • 1/5 nuts
  • 5 sheets of buttered dough
  • 1/5 nuts
  • 10 sheets of buttered dough on top
  1. Cut the pastry length-wise into four equal strips
  2. Then cut diagonally into diamonds. I made 7 diagonal cuts but just make fewer for bigger pieces, or more form smaller pieces.
  3. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hr 15min or until top and exposed nuts are golden brown and toasty.
  4. Remove from the over and immediately start pouring the cooled syrup over the hot pastry - you’ll hear it sizzle and this prevents the pastry from getting soggy. Pour all of the syrup evenly across the top.
  5. Let baklava cool for several hours uncovered and at room temperature as the syrup penetrate and soaks into everything.
  6. Store for up to two weeks at room temperature and only loosely covered.

I admit I was reluctant to try this recipe as I’d heard how difficult it could be but in hindsight it wasn’t bad at all. Maybe a little tedious with the phylo layering but still not that bad AND well worth it! This came out really well and honestly was the best baklava I’ve ever had. But I say that suspecting the real issue was freshness and not some superior recipe.

I note that Pioneer Woman suggests only buttering every-other later of dough and I wound up switching from every layer to every other about half way up and I think she’s right. So long as you’re not stingy with the butter, every other layer seemed to work just fine and save a significant amount of time.

I also note that I added salty nuts to my mixture because I’m always a fan of that sweet+salty thing though in the final product I can’t taste the salt…so I may adjust that in the next version. I also add a fair bit more seasonings to the nuts, particularly cardamon. Following these recipes I just couldn’t taste any real spices after mixing so I added and was very happy with the result.


Have fun!

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