Sunday, January 13, 2008
First Time: Baklava
I like baklava, but always thought it was too hard to make. Then I've also been afraid of using phyllo dough. Since I am trying to learn new things, I decided to try baklava after reading the great reviews on allrecipes.com. This particular recipe has over 500 reviews and rates 5 stars!
As you can see from the pictures, the phyllo dough was just a tad too large for my baking stone. I probably should have done a better job of trimming it first, but thought at the time I would be able to trim it after I finished assembly. The edges, therefore, are a little flaky dry. Lesson for next time. I did add about 2 teaspoons of rose water to the nut mixture to give it that added Mideastern zing. All in all, the reviews are justified and it really was easy to make.
* 1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
* 1 pound chopped nuts
* 1 cup butter
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 cup water
* 1 cup white sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 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. 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 until sugar is melted. Add vanilla 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. Leave it uncovered as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up.
Make the sauce ahead of time.
Don't cut all the way thru to the bottom - it helps the sauce to soak in and not to just soak thru and sit in the bottom of the pan.
Put either hot sauce over cooled baklava or cooled sauce over hot baklava. Apparently putting hot sauce on hot baklava can cause sogginess.