Reads, Writes, Eats and Cooks
Making baklava was MUCH easier than I thought it would be! Its magic really… sheets of thin pastry, nuts and syrup add up to simple deliciousness of honey sweet and buttery tastes delivered by nutty and flaky textures. Everyone in my chopped and blended nutty family liked it! Except for chocolate chip cookies, that doesn’t happen very often. Its a miracle people!
I generally followed the recipe except I used a mix of walnuts and pecans and added a bit more lemon juice. I also didn’t cut the pieces as small. It would’ve been better smaller. As you can imagine the dessert is very rich and sweet. Cutting the raw baklava was making me nervous as it started to tear. I think the only rule of baklava making is: build FAST. The dump and simmer syrup needed the longest preparation time but necessary to get the sticky consistency.
I know people like baklava: nutty, sweet and just flaky enough to be fun. Like Baklava they are perfect for large parties. Invite a few and serve them some.
Make the syrup: Bring 2 cups water, the sugar and honey to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium low; simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 20 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and rose water. Pour into a large liquid measuring cup or heatproof bowl and refrigerate until ready to use (or up to 1 day).
Make the baklava: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 375 degrees F. Pulse the nuts, confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon in a food processor until coarsely ground. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the vanilla and salt.
Brush the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with melted butter. Trim the phyllo to 9 by 13 inches with kitchen shears (fig. A); cover with a damp towel. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo in the prepared baking dish and brush with butter. Repeat with 5 more sheets of phyllo, buttering each sheet. Scatter about 3/4 cup of the nut mixture evenly over the phyllo stack. Top with 2 more sheets of phyllo, buttering each sheet, then top with another 3/4 cup of the nut mixture. Repeat to make 2 more layers (use 2 sheets of buttered phyllo and 3/4 cup nut mixture for each layer), then top with the remaining 6 sheets of phyllo, buttering each sheet (fig. B). Scatter the remaining nut mixture on top.
Cut the baklava into 32 triangles (fig. C). Transfer to the oven and bake until golden brown and crisp, about 40 minutes (tent with foil if the nuts are browning too quickly).
Remove from the oven and pour the prepared syrup evenly over the top. Let the syrup soak in, at least 2 hours.
In a different mode, I also tested gluten free flour (krusteaz brand) in baking banana bread. It worked out well. Familiar texture, nice crunchy crust on top and moist. There was a slight bitter aftertaste possibly from the sorghum flour. What are your experiences with gluten free flour?
Wishing all of you happy weekend eating ahead,