Monday, November 29, 2010

Baklava

This is a greek sweet which is made with flaky sheets of phyllo pastry, filled with layers of nuts and soaked in a sweet honey-sugar syrup - even writing this makes my mouth water... I first made this about 8 yrs ago for Diwali wanting to try something different and it became such a hit amongst our friends. It's not all that daunting and comes together in no time. The phyllo sheets are very thin and are almost translucent but they are not all that hard to work with.

What I like about phyllo dough is that it's very low in fat and though it requires brushing with butter, it's still something I can control as opposed to puff pastry sheets that come loaded with butter as-is. In the US, these can be found easily in most grocery stores in the freezer section (usually next to the puff pastry sheets). It can be used for both savoury and sweet dishes.

BAKLAVA


Ingredients:
Phyllo dough - 1 (8 oz) roll, thawed acc. to package directions
Chopped nuts - heaped 1 cup (I used walnut & almonds, roasted lightly & pulsed coarsely)
Raisins - 2 tbsp, chopped (optional)
Cinnamon powder - half tsp
Butter - 1/4 to 1/2 cup, melted (I use a light hand when it comes to brushing with butter)

For Syrup:
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Water - 1/2 cup
Honey - 1/4 cup
Vanilla extract - half tsp

Method:
1) In a small bowl combine the nuts, cinnamon & chopped raisins if using.


2) Preheat oven to 350F and butter the bottom and sides of a loaf pan.

3) Cut the thawed phyllo sheets in half (lengthwise) so they can fit in the loaf pan. Work with them quickly, to avoid them drying out. So, keep everything ready and closeby (nuts, butter and sheets) so you can start the layering.


4) Layer 2 to 3 sheets of phyllo in the pan and brush the top with butter, add another layer of 2-3 sheets and butter the top layer, add one more final layer of 2-3 sheets and top with butter.
5) Now sprinkle a light layer of nuts mixture and top with 2-3 sheets, butter the top layer, sprinkle another layer of nuts, top with 2-3 more sheets, butter and nuts.. repeat until all but 8-9 sheets are left and all the nuts are used up.


6) Now layer the sheets similar to what was done for the bottom part, put 2 sheets, butter the top layer lightly, place 2 more sheets, butter and so on until all the sheets are done. Butter the top most layer with some butter.

7) With a sharp knife, cut the layered phyllo in the pan into squares (this will make it easier to make pieces after it has been baked). Bake this in the oven for about 35-40 mins, until light brown.

8) Meanwile, heat water, sugar and once all the sugar has melted, add the honey and allow to simmer for 20 mins. Cool this syrup in the refrigerator until the baklava is baked.

9) Once the baklava is ready and out of the oven, pour this cooled syrup on the hot baklava uniformly and allow it to soak the syrup overnight (uncovered so it retains it's crispness). This is now ready to serve.

More recipes using Phyllo:
Spanakopita
Apple Strudel

13 comments:

  1. Am hearing it for the first time looks n sounds interesting

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  2. where can i get these sheets in USA?

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  3. Baklava looks absolutely divine..

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  4. New and intersting recipe lavanya.Looks great

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  5. Thank you so much for step by step recipe. Makes it so much easier. I love baklava but never tried it at home.

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  6. That looks sinful ur baklava!

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  7. Thank you Sharmilee. I found it interesting too the first time i came across it.

    Anon - these are usually right next to the puff pastry sheets in most grocery stores. I've usually bought the Athens brand. My post has a link to that brand so you can maybe use that to check where it is available.

    Thank you Prathiba, Priya, Jeyashri, Priya, Rachana, Padhu, Apu, Pushpa & Cham for your comments :)

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  8. Love baklava....like the addition of raisins.

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