Sunday, May 27, 2012

The pièce de resistance...

One more Mediterranean dish, and then I'll play another record, I promise. But how can we depart this ethnic cuisine before dessert? How about some baklava (again, made with authentic phyllo from Marché Adonis in Montreal) filled with walnuts, cinnamon and brown sugar, and topped with a lemon-infused simple syrup, honey, and vanilla glaze? That's what I thought you'd say. Just LOOK at it:


And now, let's make it! I used the following recipe from All Recipes, and I liked it a lot. The only thing I would do differently next time is cut back on the butter a bit between each layer--yes, I said cut back on the butter, which says a LOT coming from me. Oh, and as for my own adaptations, I toasted and cooled the walnuts ahead of time, added about a cup of brown sugar to the nut filling, and I sliced up a lemon to infuse in the simple syrup. DELISH!

Baklava
(Source: adapted from All Recipes)

1 pound chopped nuts (I used walnuts this time, but wouldn't pistachios be YUM?!)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (um, or a TABLESPOON!)
1 cup brown sugar (optional)
1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough, thawed
1 cup butter (I would try to hold this to one stick next time, and no more than a stick and a half)
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 lemon, sliced (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (a vanilla bean would be even better)
1/2 cup honey

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(175 degrees C). Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9x13 inch pan.
2.Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon and brown sugar (if using the latter). Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough. Cut whole stack in half to fit pan. Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work. Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle 2 - 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 6 - 8 sheets deep.
3.Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. You may cut into 4 long rows the make diagonal cuts. Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.
4.Make sauce while baklava is baking.* Boil sugar and water with lemon (if using) until sugar is melted. Add vanilla (or vanilla bean) and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
5.Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let cool. Serve in cupcake papers. This freezes well. Store uncovered, as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up.

*I tried some advice from reviewers on All Recipes. I made the simple syrup infusion ahead of time, and stored it in the fridge overnight. There are those who say that the secret to a crisp baklava where the sugary goo doesn't all puddle at the bottom (making that layer soggy) is to either have cold baklava and apply hot syrup or cold syrup poured over hot baklava. I went with option B, and it seemed to work--all the layers were evenly saturated.

1 comment:

Easy Recipes said...

My friends always insist me to try this !