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What am I baking?

November 16, 2014

baklavaTomorrow is Baklava Day . . . and this is what I was baking.

Baklava Ottoman Turkish: باقلوا  is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey. It is characteristic of the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire, and is also found in Central and Southwest Asia.  (Wikipedia)

I have always enjoyed baklava, but never attempted making it until now.  It turns out, it is dead easy to make – and delicious.  I followed Ree Drummond’s recipe, using a combination of walnuts, butternuts and pecans to create my baklava.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 package Phyllo Dough
  • 4 cups Chopped Walnuts Or Pecans
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 stick Butter, Melted
  • 2 cups Honey
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Preparation Instructions

Remove phyllo dough package from freezer and place in the fridge for 24 hours to thaw. Remove from fridge 1 hour before using.

When working with the phyllo dough, only remove the sheets you immediately need, keeping the other sheets covered in plastic wrap, then a damp cloth.

Toss together the chopped walnuts and cinnamon. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly butter a rectangular baking pan. Make sure the sheets of phyllo will generally fit the pan (if they’re a little bigger, that’s okay.) If they’re much bigger, just trim them with a sharp knife.

Butter the top sheet of phyllo with melted butter, then grab it and the unbuttered sheet below it. Set the two sheets in the pan, buttered sheet face down. Press lightly into the pan. Repeat this twice more, so that you have six sheets of phyllo in the pan, three of the sheets buttered.

Sprinkle on enough walnuts to make a single layer. Butter two sheets of phyllo and place them on top of the walnuts. Add more walnuts, then two more buttered phyllo sheets. Repeat this a couple more times, or until you’re out of walnuts. Top with 4 more buttered phyllo sheets, ending with a buttered top. Cut a diagonal diamond pattern in the baklava using a very sharp knife.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the baklava is very golden brown.

While the baklava is baking, combine 1 stick of the butter, honey, water, sugar, and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.

When you remove the baklava from the oven, drizzle half the saucepan evenly all over the top. Allow it to sit and absorb for a minute, then drizzle on a little more until you think it’s thoroughly moistened. You’ll likely have some of the honey mixture leftover, which you can drink with a straw. Just kidding.

Allow the baklava to cool, uncovered, for several hours. Once cool and sticky and divine, carefully remove them from the pan and serve with coffee (or give as gifts!)

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6 comments

  1. Heh. You have an uncanny knack for pushing buttons of mine which haven’t been pushed in years, Anne. My father was stationed in Ankara, Turkey for two years (I was age 11- 13) and we rented the second floor of a two story building from a retired Turkish army general who lived below us. We received a humongous tray of baklava seemingly every week from the general’s kitchen and it was THE most wonderful baklava I’ve ever had… made from pistachios, almonds, the lightest pastry you can possibly imagine, and just the right amount of honey. I’ll never forget that stuff.

    See? Another button pushed. 🙂


    • What an interesting life you have led! I do want to try the recipe again – pistachios and almonds sound wonderful.


  2. Good for you! I tried once and it was a big mess


    • Oh – maybe try again – so worth it!


  3. mmmmmhh. Tasty


    • Thanks!



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