Monday, November 7, 2011

Baklava


     Crispy, sweet, buttery, baklava…ahhhh Greek pastry. My mother learned how to make this from a neighbor many years ago, but says it’s not “an exact science”. Ever thirsting for exact science, I pinned down some measurements, and here they are! Yummy science.

My ingredients
Ingredients:
8 oz. phyllo dough
½ c. butter, melted
2 c. walnuts, chopped
1 c. almonds, chopped
1 ¼ c. sugar, divided
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
~ 20 whole cloves
1-2 cinnamon sticks
½ c. honey
1 Lemon (½ Tbsp. grated rind; ½ Tbsp. lemon juice)
1 cup water

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

2. Combine chopped nuts with ¼ c. sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon in a large bowl. Set aside.

Notes about phyllo dough:
Phyllo (sometimes “fillo”) dough is usually bought frozen. Thaw before use. Leave it in the fridge or on the kitchen counter. Phyllo dough consists of thin papery sheets. When you’re using it to prepare a recipe, try to keep it covered with plastic wrap or a slightly damp towel to prevent drying and cracking.


3. Grease a loaf pan using your butter wrapper or cooking spray.

4. Use scissors to shape phyllo dough to fit in a loaf pan.


5. Brush melted butter in bottom of loaf pan, and lay two leaves of phyllo dough down. Brush with butter again, and lay two more pieces of phyllo. Repeat about a dozen times (24 sheets of phyllo). This is the bottom layer of your baklava.

6. Sprinkle ½ cup nut-sugar mixture on buttery layers of phyllo.  Next, repeat the process described in Step 4., but make it half as thick as the bottom layer (12 sheets of phyllo).

Nutty layer…
7. Repeat Step 5. three more times:
     ½ cup sugary nuts; 12 sheets phyllo + butter
     ½ cup sugary nuts; 12 sheets phyllo + butter
     ½ cup sugary nuts; 12 sheets phyllo + butter

8. Now for the top layer! Dump all the rest of your nuts ( ½ cup?), and spread 24 sheets phyllo + butter.

9. With a sharp knife, score top few sheets of baklava diagonally into diamond shapes and stick a whole clove in center of each rhombus.

10. Bake 30-40 minutes, until top is golden brown and crispy.

Fresh lemons are the best!
11. While baklava is baking, prepare syrup:
Grate ½ tablespoon of lemon rind, and squeeze ½ tablespoon of lemon juice.
In medium saucepan, combine the lemon stuff with 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, ½ cup honey, and cinnamon sticks. Heat to dissolve grains of sugar (bring to boiling for a minute, and you’ll be fine).

12. When baklava comes out of oven, immediately (carefully!) pour hot syrup over whole thing. Let liquid soak into the baklava for a few minutes.

Hot syrup!
13. Cut into pieces and enjoy! Remember not to eat the whole cloves J



*Nutrition facts:

Ingredient
Calories
Sodium (% RDA)
Fiber (g)
Protein (g)
Calcium (% RDA)
8 oz. phyllo dough (half 16-oz. box)
630
31.5
4.5
22.5
18
½ c. butter
400
16
0
0
0
2 c. walnuts
1600
0
16
40
16
1 c. slivered almonds
737
0
13
30
26
1 ¼ c. sugar
900
0
0
0
0
½ c. honey
480
0
0
0
0
Total (20 small pieces):
4117 kcal
47.5 %
33.5 g
92.5 g
60 %
1 piece
206 kcal
2.5 %
1.5 g
4.5 g
3 %


*Calculated from food packaging
 I used “Safeway Select” phyllo dough pastry sheets, “Great Value” (Walmart) brand salted butter, “Diamond” brand walnuts, “Orchard Valley Harvest” brand blanched slivered almonds, “Domino” brand sugar, and “Richfood” brand honey.

3 comments:

  1. This is one of my favorite greek desserts, so much that I never miss the greek festival. I have never had a bad piece of this nutty delight. I am sure yours is as delicious as ever. That glass pan sure does entice since you can see all those layers-yum! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. great post...I love this dessert.

    - KAT -

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