Thursday, July 30, 2009

An Idiot's Guide to Baklava

Whenever there's a special event in my circle of family and friends, I'm usually asked to bring a dessert. Said dessert is almost always baklava.

I have to admit, I do make a kick-ass baklava. All those layers of buttery, walnut-y goodness, yum. And so decadent, people will be surprised you made it yourself. And I'm going to show you just how to do that.

Intimidated? Don't be. This recipe, my dear friends, is pretty much foolproof. Heck, even I got a great outcome my first time trying it out!

Oh, and a disclaimer/PSA: If you'd like to remain in ignorant bliss over just how fattening this dish is, this is not the post for you. Leave now and go eat a rice cake.

What You'll Need:

Simple Syrup
8-9 cups sugar
6 cups water

1 lb Chopped/Ground Walnuts
4 sticks (1 lb) unsallted butter, melted
1 twin-pack phyllo dough, unfrozen (if it's one long roll, get 2 packs)

What You'll Do:

First make simple syrup. Put sugar and water in a big pot on medium-high heat, add juice from half a lemon (to prevent stickiness). Squeeze half a lemon (or even all of it if you want--it helps prevent stickiness).

Stir until sugar is dissolved. Let it almost boil, then reduce to a simmer for a few hours or until mixture thickens or turns light amber.


Set up your workstation so you have the phyllo on one side and ingredients on the other.

Remember, you have to work quickly with phyllo dough or it will dry out.

If you have a twin pack, leave one in the fridge until you're done with the first roll.

And make sure it's fully defrosted or the sheets will stick together and shred.

Trim phyllo dough sheets to fit pan.

Grease bottom and sides of pan.

Lay down 1 layer of phyllo dough, and then brush butter over it.

Lay down 2 more layers, brush with butter. Repeat twice. By the end, you should have 7 sheets on your bottom layer.

Sprinkle walnuts and cinnamon over dough.

Lay down two sheets of dough, brush with butter, and two more, brush with butter (should have 4 total). Sprinkle walnuts and cinnamon. Repeat (4 sheets, fillings, 4 sheets, fillings) until you run out of something (usually it's the walnuts).

Remember though, keep at least 3 layers of phyllo dough that are intact (no holes, rips, etc) because those will be your top layers.

The top layer should have 6-7 sheets of phyllo dough, with butter on each sheet except the very top one.

Cut on a diagonal

Cut on the vertical. to make diamond shapes. You can also cut little squares, but I think these are much more fun.

Now, take the rest of the butter (should be at least 1 melted stick left), make sure it's liquidy/melted (if not, pop in microwave for a few secs), and pour over baklava.

Pour over baklava, use the brush to distribute evenly, making sure the entire surface and sides are covered in it.

Throw it in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes. DONT't BE AFRAID OF BURNING IT.

The bottom should look like this.

REALLY baking it allows the pastry to retain its crispiness.

When baklava and simple syrup completely cooled down (usually several hours) and pour over baklava until you can juuuuust see it filling the pan.

Leave overnight or a few hours, and then drain the extra syrup.


1 comment:

  1. Um, this reminds me of how much I'd look forward to going back to school after holidays, because I knew your mom would send you back with some for me! My favorite!


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