Baklava

Baklava

 

It has been a while since I prepared Baklava myself and today I thought: why not! For those who like the real deal, the utmost sweetness, Baklava is basically a must and, most certainly, something familiar to mr and mrs Sweet Tooth. But for those who are not acquainted with this stuff: Baklava is made of layers of phyllo pastry (a bit similar to puff pastry), stuffed with pieces of nuts, usually pistachio or walnuts but also almonds. There are a lot of variations to which for example cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, lemon zest, orange zest, rose water or vanilla sugar are added, but the basic rule is to drench the Baklava after baking, with a sweet syrup made of sugar or honey (or a mixture of this).

 

Baklava

 

Often Baklava is made on a large scale and then cut into small pieces. Because the Baklava is very sweet and fat, it’s also very powerful and rich in calories (unfortunately). It’s often combined with a cup of coffee and also often served with a scoop of ice cream in the tourist areas. The origin of Baklava is rather unclear. It’s often thought and written that Turkey is the cradle of Baklava, but this is far from certain. Many different countries from the Balkans to the Middle East are claiming its origin, so forgive me that I’m not going to burn my fingers on that subject.

Baklava unfortunately has the reputation of being difficult to prepare, but actually it’s surprisingly easy to make. I suspect this is because working with phyllo pastry seems very difficult, but if you are careful and work tactful, this is not really the case. The only very important thing is to grease each sheet of phyllo pastry with butter, there’s nothing more to it! So what’s there to stop you from preparing Baklava yourself sometime? Immerse yourself in the Greek or Turkish atmosphere and enjoy I’d say!

WARNING!!: Baklava can be very addictive. Once you’ve munched a piece of this sticky, sweet, buttery, flaky, nutty stuff, you’ll be hooked immediately….

Baklava

 

Recipe Baklava

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Serving Size: approx. 24 pieces

Recipe Baklava

Ingredients:

    Baklava
  • 450 gr fresh phyllo pastry (about 40 sheets)
  • 450 gr walnuts
  • 225 gr unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Syrup
  • 180 ml water
  • 120 ml honey
  • 200 gr granulated sugar
  • juice of ½ lemon

Directions:

  1. If necessary, cut the phyllo pastry to the size of your baking dish (I used a baking dish of 22x33 cm), stack them and cover with a damp cloth to prevent drying .
  2. Grease the bottom and sides of a baking dish with butter.
  3. Bring sugar, honey, water and lemon juice to a boil over high heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved, lower the heat and cook for another 4 minutes without stirring.
  4. Remove from the heat and allow the syrup to cool while preparing the baklava.
  5. Chop the walnuts in a food processor roughly.
  6. Put the chopped walnuts in a separate bowl and mix with cinnamon.
  7. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.
  8. Preheat the oven to 160°C or 320°F.
  9. Put 1 sheet of phyllo pastry in the baking dish and grease with the melted butter .
  10. Repeat 9 more times (keep the remaining sheets of phyllo at all times covered with a damp cloth to prevent drying).
  11. Spread approx ⅕ of walnuts/cinnamon mixture on top of the (greased) sheet of phyllo (50 grams).
  12. Cover with 5 sheets of phylo pastry ( ATTENTION!! Grease each sheet with melted butter).
  13. Spread ⅕ of walnuts/cinnamon mixture on the top of the (greased) sheet of phyllo (50 grams).
  14. Repeat 4 times.
  15. Finish with 10 sheets of phyllo pastry ( ATTENTION!! Grease each sheet with melted butter) .
  16. Cut the baklava into 6 equal strips in width (I made strips of approx 6 cm).
  17. Cut the baklava into 4 equal strips lengthwise (I made strips of approx 4 cm).
  18. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes until the upper layer is golden brown in color.
  19. Remove the baklava from the oven and immediately pour the cooled syrup over it, this will ensure that the top layer remains crispy instead that it becomes soft (if everything goes well, you'll hear a hiss as the hot baklava makes contact with the cooled syrup).
  20. Leave the baklava to cool completely, uncovered and at room temperature (for the best result, leave the baklava to rest for 4-6 hours or overnight at room temperature to ensure the inner layers are completely soaked with the syrup, making the inner layers soft and sticky).
http://murielsbakingpassion.com/baklava/

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