Friday, April 30, 2010
We had a bunch of nuts left over from the holidays and I didn't want to waste them, so I made them into Baklava.
Baklava makes 28 pieces
1 package of Phyllo dough, set out to thaw, about 2 hours.
Filling: about 10 minutes not counting shelling the nuts
1 pound of mixed raw nuts, in this case walnuts, pecans, filberts (haselnuts), almonds, and Macadamias. Traditionally your used almonds, walnuts and pistachios, but I went with what we had.
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon or cassia, about 1 stick
2 teaspoons ground allspice, about 15 whole berries
2/3 cup sugar
Combine in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, 10-15 pulses. Don't over-process into a powder or paste.
Divide into three groups.
Clarified butter: about 20 minutes
3 sticks of butter
In a small pot melt the butter over medium low heat until it foams. Once it calms down turn up the heat and boil until it foams again and the milk solids brown, remove from heat and pour off the oil from the solids.
Syrup: about 20 minutes
1 1/4 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups honey
1 cinnamon stick
1 2 x 1/2 inch piece of fresh orange peel, use a vegetable peeler
Combine all ingredients in a medium pot over high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, allow the syrup to boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and discard cinnamon stick and orange peel.
Assemble the Baklava: about 10 minutes
Preheat oven to 350°F.
A 9x13 pan, pastry brush.
Cut phyllo dough to fit the 9x13 pan and divide into 4 groups. If it is a particularily dry day cover the phyllo with a damp towel.
Butter the pan and place one sheet of phyllo dough, brush with butter. Continue placing one sheet at a time with butter until the first set of dough is placed in the pan. If you place all the dough down at once and try drowning it in butter, it will fuse into one hard layer, not good eats.
Next spread 1/3 of the nut mixture onto the base layer of phyllo dough.
Then another sheet by sheet layer of phyllo dough.
The second third of the nut mixture.
Another sheet by sheet layer of phyllo dough.
The last third of the nut mixture.
And finally the last set of phyllo dough. Brush the top generously with butter.
Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove pan from the oven and cut into 28 pieces (4 pieces x 7 pieces).
Return pan to the oven for another 30 minutes.
Remove pan from the oven and let cool 2 hours, uncovered.
Recut the entire pan, following the line from earlier.
Reheat the syrup and pour the syrup evenly and slowly over the baklava letting it run over the cuts and edges of the pan.
Allow the pan to cool completely again. Cover and store at room temperature for at least 8 hours but overnight is better.
Store, covered, at room temperature for up to 5 days.