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Sunday, October 11, 2009

"Around the World in 30 Weekends"-Weekend 4= Greece

Dish Name: Baklava Cups

Baklava is the most famous of the Greek pastries, and every area of Greece - and sometimes every family within a region has their own version.
Baklava is a pastry made of layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey.
When I decided to take on the project of making Baklava, I decided to take on the ‘short and easy’ route. I thought, a newbie like me, should start by making this ‘easier’ version and then once I master it, try to take on the ‘authentic’ recipe.
I had seen this recipe on Food network in Sunny Anderson’s show. She uses Phyllo dough cups instead of the phyllo dough sheets. Since last week, I had been searching for Phyllo dough cups, but none of the grocery stores carried them. They said they will only stock those in ‘holiday season’ beginning end of October. But yesterday, to my ‘good luck’ I found those in TOPS and hence could plan my trip to Greece this weekend! Another reason to try our this recipe on this weekend was...if it turns out good...I can make it for upcoming Diwali! Just another 'Sweet' addition to all the other Diwali spread!

Here is Sunny Anderson's Recipe:
Ingredients :•1/2 cup pistachios
•1/2 cup walnuts 1/2 cup almonds 1 lemon, zested
•1/4 cup, plus 3 tablespoons sugar
•2 tablespoons butter, melted
•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 boxes mini filo shells, 15 shells each
•1/2 cup water 1/4 cup honey

Method:Special equipment: 2 (12-cup) mini cupcake pans, food processor
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pistachios, walnuts and almonds on a baking sheet and toast in oven until golden and fragrant, about 8 minutes.
2) Let nuts cool slightly and add to a food processor along with the lemon zest, 3 tablespoons of sugar, butter, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla and pulse to combine.
3) Place mini fillo shells in wells of 2 mini cupcake pans. Add 1 teaspoon of the nut mixture into each shell. Bake until filling is hot, about 10 minutes.
4) Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat add the water, 1/4 cup sugar and honey and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until reduced and slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.
5) Pour 1 teaspoon syrup into each cup and allow it to soak in, then repeat with another teaspoon.
6) Refrigerate at least 5 hours, or overnight. ( I do not know why this has to be done? But I chilled mine anyways!!)
My Variations:
1) Used regular muffin pans instead of mini (Because I did not have the mini muffin pan)
2) Used cashews along with other nuts
3) Used orange zest instead of lemon zest
4)Did not add any butter to the nut mixture (counting calories you see!)
5) Did not add vanilla extract (the recipe already had other strong flavors like cinnamon, lemon/orange zest so decided to leave out vanilla)
6) Would add only 1tsp of honey-sugar syrup to the cups.2 tsp turned out little too sweet.
7) Garnished with orange zest


  1. Hi dear. my first comment. honetly, i had your page bookmarked, but slipped my mind to go thru it. and here I am looking into it. i believe that it has been a long time that u started. So first Congrats on that. I am not sure which recipe to read, but i will start from Bhaklava. lol.. well, i have had it like so mnay times in Dubai and have loved it! I have a small doubt, no actually im Absolutely sure that Bhaklava is actually a lebanese/Turkish dish, and not greece. u wanna cross check that. i know it so well coz we had this small lebanese eat out in Memphis where i have literally hung out a lot. and hence, check that. GREAT JOB on the blog and hope Eshu is doing better from his cold. ok, i better stop- otherwise this will look like a letter and not a comment. PS; plz bake a cake for my bday also n send it! muaaaah. love u.. GREAT job again!

  2. Actually you are partly right Anusha...Baklava's origin is somewhere in middle east or central asia(there is controversy).I did read abt that.It is also an Turkish dessert for sure.But when it originated there..they made it in 'bread dough' not the phyllo dough.The greeks made it in phyllo dough..and now thats the most famous version. actually the word "phyllo" is greek meaning "leaf".
    Since I was using phyllo dough...I decided to put it under "Greece'.But if you want 'Turkey" or "Lebanon"...you can take it that way.The recipe is 'almost ' the same..and Baklava remains 'Sweet and delicious' as ever...no matter what the origin is!

  3. Oops...forgot to type this link
    You can check out for yourself:

  4. I love baklava.....but was always intimidated to make it coz of teh phyllo dough....these phyllo cups sound interesting! Very nice.