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Thursday, December 6, 2012


Which 'Sweet' is Sweet,Crunchy,Buttery,Gooeey,Nutty...all at the same time?? And the answer is.............BAKLAVA is a 'sweet lovers' winner for sure! The variety of textures and depth of flavors it offers is just phenomenal and promises to satisfy the 'sweetest of the sweet tooth' :))

I made these for a friend, for her to take to her "International Business class about Turkey" as a treat after the presentation. It was a great 'project" for me..to estimate the cost, estimate how much each ingredient I will need to make the 50 pieces that she needed, how many pans and what size pieces to cut! All in all...It was a good brain workout:)
1 lb Athens Fillo Pastry Sheets (I used 30 sheets)
1 stick unsalted butter
Butter flavored Cooking spray


10 oz Almonds
10 oz Walnuts
2/3rd cup Sugar
1tsp Cinnamon powder
Zest of 2 lemons/ zest of 1 orange
1/2tsp salt
Few pieces of Pistachios for decoration

1.5 cups  Sugar
1.5 cups water
3/4 cup Honey
2 slices of lemon
few drops Rose essence

1) Thaw the Fillo sheets as per packet directions
2) Toast the Almonds and Walnuts separately in the oven/ microwave till slightly toasted ( 4-5 min in microwave, remove every minute and turn the nuts...otherwise they burn) Let them cool
3) In a blender pulse the nuts till coarse along with sugar, cinnamon, zest salt etc.OR chop nuts with a knife.
4) Preheat the oven to 350F
5) Brush a 8in x 12in Pan with butter or coat with butter flavored cooking spray
6) I did this pattern for assembly---(15 sheets Fillo---then nuts layer---then 5 sheets fillo---then nuts layer---and finally 10 sheets fillo) 
Details-Place1 sheet of fillo on the bottom.Spray with cooking spray/ brush evenly with butter.Repeat for the 15 sheets. Then spread half of the nuts mixture. Then place 5 fillo sheets (spreading butter in between each sheet). Then spread remaining half of nuts mixture.Then the 10 fillo sheets (spreading butter in between each sheet) and on top of the last sheet.
LIFE SAVER:  I sprayed the butter flavored cooking spray on the sheets that had broken.Spreading butter on those was really hard.
7) After the assembly, cut with a sharp knife into 30 square pieces ( 6 vertical lines by 5 horizontal lines) Place a small piece of Pistachio in the center of each piece.
8) Bake uncovered for 40 mins till golden
9) Remove from oven and let it cool uncovered for 1and 1/2 hrs
10) Syrup: Mix sugar, honey, lemon slices, rose essence, water in a pot. Bring to a boil. After it comes to a boil...boil for 10 mins. Let it cool till lukewarm
11) Pour the warm syrup on the baked Baklava. Let it soak overnight or several hours. Cut again on the same lines as  before and serve at room temperature.

Store at room temperature for upto 5 days. 

Same Filling as above in the Fillo Cups, garnished with dried Cranberry and topped with 1 tsp sugar-honey syrup

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