Baklava: The Chef’s Thoughts

As you can see in the previous entry, I made baklava this past Monday, which was a new experience on many levels.

I’ve never made Greek food, or used phyllo dough before. I wanted to make the phyllo dough myself, as I’m that sort of baker; I want to make everything from scratch whenever possible! However, my fiancée was more familiar with it and urged me to spend the $4.00 for a pound, rather than complicate the process (at least until I’m more experienced with it). And when I opened the package and unrolled it that morning, I was glad that I took his advice, for it was far thinner then I imagined!

Sometimes, when I look up a recipe, I find very different ingredients and/or amounts, so I tend to take the different parts I like of each one, whether it be technique or ingredients and combine them to come up with my own plan. This time, I had three I sourced from and I’m rather pleased with how it turned out.

One thing I did that I didn’t see on my source sites but wanted to do anyway was to toast all my nuts beforehand. I used a glass pan and trimmed each sheet to size with a plastic knife, then managed to use the scraps to compose two more layers.

Added cinnamon and lemon juice to my syrup. We don’t like things to be too sweet. The suggestion of vanilla made by one source seemed as though it would mute the flavors.

Having only ever had baklava in ice cream, I expected it to be a bit more dough-like or cakey, but it turns out that I like it this way too.

I leave you with my favorite shot of the final product, you can’t tell its baklava, but I love the layers! I’m off to plot this weekend’s sourdough.

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And…then there was baklava!

Back in the fall my fiancée and I went to a Greek food festival at a local church, where we sampled some lovely homemade baklava ice cream. It was quite fantastic! Really! Thus the infatuation with possibly making baklava.

Fast forward to February, 2014, a rough month, an icy month a bitter cold month! Also a surprise! Upon arriving in the evening after a long Monday, her house was filled with the most wonderful, round nutty spicy bakery aroma! As she had made baklava! Wow what an aroma it makes.

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First time !!

I am not so experienced in baklava, as I have felt that filo dough can seem like toasted paper to me. But that magic honeyed, lemon cinnamon syrup combined with the toasted walnuts ( a few pecans were required to make up total amount) left to soak in creates magic.  The filo still can be, papery to me, but as the syrup starts to soak in the layers, fantastich!  It was the first attempt. We think we might try some modifications, but I declared it was delicious and so… a success!!

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It was a combined information, study in making it.  She studied different recipes, getting ideas.  In the end she took all

the info and struck out on her own!  Following her idea of what would be good, I’m bragging, but I am a proud fiancé! Comment and ask if you are interested in recipe info. That’s it on the home hearth!