Thursday, July 8, 2010

Paklava/Baklava

I haven't checked, but I'm fairly certain that in heaven, the roads are paved with Baklava. 





My husbands family has been visiting from Maine the past week...which means, of course, that I had to break out some Armenian cooking.  I started with lady fingers [recipe to come] and for the 4th made Pak/Baklava.  

...and by the 5th, they had to have a helicopter lift off the roof of my house in order to airlift me out, because I could no longer fit through the door.

But, it was worth it.

There are many recipes for Pak/Baklava [man, that's getting annoying], depending on where you are from.  [Greece, Turkey, Georgia, Iran... you get the picture]  Regardless, you can't go wrong.  It's phyllo/fillo, butter and nuts.  I'll take 2, please.

This is MY take on it.  I adjusted the syrup to suit what I think tastes good.  So, don't tell Chris' grandfather but this is now Armenian/Norwegian/Swedish/Utah Baklava.

Baklava [I dropped the "Pa", because it's getting annoying]

  • 1 1/2 lbs. chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2-1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 lb. [yep, that's right] melted butter [sweet]
  • 2 lbs. fillo/phyllo dough [found in the freezer section, usually 1 box is 1 pound, so you'll need 2 boxes]
  • homeade syrup
  • 1/2 c. honey
Homemade syrup:
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. water
  • juice of 1/2-1 lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Start by making sure the walnuts are finely chopped.  You don't want them pulverized or in a powder form, but you want them small enough.  I throw them in the food processor and pulse them a few times, that usually makes them small enough.  In a bowl, mix together the walnuts, 1/2 c. sugar and cinnamon.  Mix well.
  3. Brush a sheet pan [cookie sheet size, make sure it has a lip], with some of the melted butter.  Lay a sheet of phyllo dough on the pan, brush with butter.  Repeat until you have used about 15-20 sheets of dough.  [I cover the dough I'm not using with a slightly damp kitchen towel so it doesn't dry out and crack.] 
  4. Spread the walnut mixture evenly over the stacked phyllo sheets, making sure the entire surface is covered.
  5. Continue stacking the remaining phyllo sheets on top of the walnut layer, brushing each sheet with melted butter as you go.  Use the remaining phyllo sheets, making sure to butter the top of the last piece of dough.
  6. With a sharp knife, cut a diamond pattern through all of the layers.  Being careful not to tear or rip the phyllo. 
  7. Use remaining butter [or melt about 5-8 Tablespoons of butter if you ran out---I never do, I always have enough left], make sure it is warm, and pour evenly over baklava.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the surface turns a light golden color. 
  9. Remove from oven and immediately pour syrup evenly over baklava. 
  10. Serve at room temperature.
To make syrup:
Mix sugar and water in a saucepan.  Heat on medium and stir constantly.  Increase to high and add lemon juice and let it come to a white bubbly surface.  Remove from heat and stir in honey.  Let cool to room temperature before you pour it over the warm baklava.

**Alternately this can be made using pistachios, but I really do love it with plain [cheaper] walnuts.

3 comments:

  1. I have a friend who married an Armenian guy and she has offered to teach me how to make this! I can't wait...thanks for your timely post~

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  2. I hope you love it as much as we do Frieda!!

    And tell your friend she's lucky...Armenian men are so good lookin'!! [I swear, my husband didn't make me say that!]

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  3. Annalee, she came over (from Texas to Utah) and we made it last night! Woo! It was so fun! Her recipe is very similar to yours ~ her MIL taught her how to make it with no measurements, so she had to create a recipe with measurements.

    This is such an elegant and easy dessert that will impress anyone ~ hubby took it to work and they gobbled it down in no time!

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