Sugar Coma: Baklava
Remember how I told you I was craving for sweet things these days, well I found quite a remedy: Baklava! This has been on my "to-do" list for ages, even before I started this blog I think (Yes, I've been a list maker for a very long time). Phyllo pastry isn't that commum around here, so when I finally got my hand on some, I knew what I would use it for.
To me, Baklava is greek, because it's what I order in a greek restaurant for dessert. But I got to read about it a little, and it's a very commun dessert in the balkans, middle east and even in northern Africa. Obviously, there has to be as many variations as there are countries making it. The version I'm posting here is a mix and match of what I read, aswell of what I had at hand.
Beside the oh so satisfactory sugar high you'll experience with this dessert (please, nobody tells me how much calories this has), I like the fact that I feel like I'm somehow supporting Greece by making this dessert, which seems needed in those trouble times they're having.
Also while it's a very popular muslim dessert, it's also made (in it's greek version) with 33 layers of philo pastry, which represents the age of the Christ. This goes to prouve that around a good dessert, we can all get along.
Baklava (adapted from a recipe from Chef in you)
about 20 Baklavas
100gr Almonds, chopped
150gr Walnuts, chopped
75gr Pistachios, chopped
80gr of Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons of Ground Hazelnuts
2 Teaspoons of Ground Cinnamom
1/2 a Teaspoon of Ground Cloves
200gr of Sugar
200ml of Water
1 Stick of Cinnamom
1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice
1 Pack of Phyllo Pastry (250gr)
200gr of Butter
In a bowl, combine the nuts with the sugar, cinnamom and cloves and mix until everything is well blended. Set aside.
In a sauce pan, put the water, sugar, cinnamom stick with the lemon juice and bring it to the boil while whisking it, then turn the heat down a little and let it bubble for about 10 minutes. Then, turn the heat off and leave it to cool.
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Melt the butter over a medium heat or in the microwave. Using a brush, butter an oven dish (mine is 20x30cm), and start pilling up the phyllo pastry sheet: place a first one, brush it with butter, place the next one, brush it with butter... etc, make about 10 layers.
Spread now evenly the nuts, sugar and spices you have prepared in a bowl. Start again with the phyllo pastry sheet, butter each one and pile about 10 of them up. If the phyllo pastry sheet are a bit bigger than your oven dish, trim the edges, and with a sharp knife, cut the phyllo pastry in diamond shape.
Bake in the oven for 1 hour. While still hot, pour slowly the syrup you have prepared with sugar, water, cinnamom stick and lemon juice. Try to pour it slowly and evenly above the whole baklava. Now you have to wait for it to absorb the syrup, for about 6 to 8 hours.