December 11, 2013

Baklava - Arabic Turkish dessert


This is one of the easiest dessert you can make for a crowd. Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts of your choice and sweetened with honey syrup.

What you need: Makes one 9x13 inch tray - about 60 pieces
1 lb. phyllo pastry at room temperature
1 cup butter, melted
4 cups almond or nuts you like (first measured, then fine chopped)
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

For the syrup
3/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup honey
3/4 cup water
A pinch of cinnamon powder or a cinnamon stick
2 Tbsp lemon juice or orange juice


Preheat oven to 300 degree F (I don’t preheat until I’m almost done with the assembly). 
Pulse the almonds, sugar, and cinnamon together in a food processor. Set aside. Melt the butter and set aside. 

Brush bottom of a 9×13 pan with butter. Layer phyllo then butter so that you have 8 to 12 sheets/layers. If your sheets are twice the size of the pan, then butter one half, fold the sheet over the buttered half and butter the top half. That counts as two layers. 


 Sprinkle 1/3 cup of nut mixture over the phyllo in the pan. Set down two layers of phyllo/butter. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of mixture. Repeat two layers of phyllo/butter and 1/3 cup of mixture until you finish with all layers of phyllo/butter on top. Cut slices in the pan with a sharp knife – either diamonds or squares/rectangles. Bake for 45 - 50 minutes to a golden brown.


You can also make a variation of baklava rolls, buttering two sheets together, pouring a tablespoon of nut mixture at one end, rolling it and buttering while rolling it to the other edge. Then gently place the rolls in a tray one next to the other, closely together. Cut and butter one final time before it is baked to a golden brown for about 20-25 minutes.


Meanwhile, boil the water, sugar and cinnamon stick for 15 minutes. Add the honey and lemon juice, boil for 2 more minutes. 


When baklava is golden and crisp, remove it from the oven and let it cool down a bit to warm. Pour the syrup over the warm pan. Let it soak for 15 minutes and repeat again. Enjoy!