There are some words in the English language that I find really hard to tell apart: like classic and classical, arc and arch, dishwasher and washing machine; just this week, I told my good friend Nancy (who you may know from, hmm let’s see, all my posts ever?) that my balaclava was awesome. I don’t even know how I would go about making an awesome balaclava. What qualifies a balaclava as awesome? Exquisite eye holes? The option to have a mouth opening? Good use of colour?
I obviously meant baklava, the delicious concoction of phyllo and nuts (and butter and sugar).
Why would two things that are so different have the same name, other than to screw with me? I cannot guess. It makes my life very difficult though.
Baklava is this month’s Daring Bakers challenge. I didn’t do last month’s, because let’s face it, I am lazy (it’s true, I’ve had it pointed out to me on occasion). But I had to make this.
Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.
I wasn’t able to post this yesterday since I spent all day in transit (and airport wi-fi is pretty rubbish), so here it is today. I didn’t have time to make the dough. Shoot me (don’t shoot me).
I promise I will make my own, but I wasn’t able to complete the task at home (was on hols) and it was a pretty busy time, so it would be pretty cheeky of me to take over the kitchen counters for a few hours just for this dessert – there was A LOT of food to be made. You could argue that I could have made it sooner if I had been organised, but I would advise against arguing with me. I bite.
My filling was mostly pistachios, very little almonds and walnuts. It was pretty delicious. I didn’t use as much butter as the recipe calls for, or as much syrup. Below is what I did, more or less.
Adapted from Alton Brown, The Food Network
450 g phyllo pastry (I used pre-bought)
100 g butter, melted
For the filling
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
100 g blanched almonds
300 g pistachios
140 g walnuts
150 g sugar
For the syrup:
200 ml honey
200 ml water
200 ml sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 piece fresh lemon peel
1. Pre-heat oven to moderate 180 degrees C.
2. Combine nuts, sugar and spices in a food processor and pulse on high until finely chopped. I used my mother’s food processor for this as I was on holiday (yay).
3. Trim your phyllo sheets to fit in your pan. Brush the bottom of the pan with butter and place the first phyllo sheet on it.
4. Brush the sheet with butter and repeat approximately 8 times ending with butter.
5. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
6. Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 8 times
8. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
9. Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 8 times
10. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
11. Continue layering and buttering phyllo 5 more times. Brush the top layer with butter. Tuck in all the edges to give a nice appearance.
12. Cut your baklava into the desired shapes and number of pieces. Place in the oven until it is browned on top, mine took about 30 minutes (on a fan assisted oven)
While the baklava is cooking, make syrup as follows:
13. Combine all ingredients in a medium pot over medium high heat. Stir occasionally until sugar has dissolved
14. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes – once 10 mins have passed, strain and leave to cool slightly.
15. When baklava is cooked remove from oven and pour the warm syrup evenly over the top, taking care to cover all surfaces when pouring. Leave to stand overnight, at room temperature.
Serve at room temperature. It keeps for over a week.
It’s really delicious, I’m sure I’ll do it again. I will attempt to make my phyllo soon, just to see what it’s like. Hopefully when I have more time.