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I adore Baklava! My mum makes it at times and so do many other women in my family.
In simpletons terms Baklava is phyllo dough and filling, usually walnut based. Although depending on the recipe and the culture other things, such as raisins, have been known to find their way in. The whole treat is very, very sweet and moist.
I have come across a rare few Baklava types in a restaurant that I took a liking to. The store bought ones are almost always dry and stale looking. But again, there are many types of this dessert in existence.
I want my Baklava to be incredibly sweet, with that sticky, moist quality to it.
Here is a recipe for a juicy delicious Baklava, the dry, overly expensive store bought types have nothing on this! This particular recipe is from Croatia, its the way my auntie makes it. I love it so much she ended up giving me the recipe nicely framed and now it sits proud and high on my kitchen wall.
- .5kg Phyllo pastry sheets
(I don't really seem to come across them in an average grocery store so I buy them from the international store)
- 3 eggs
- 1 plain yogurt nothing fancy with flavoring (unless you want to experiment of course!)
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 20 Dag finely chopped walnuts
- 1.5 cup water
- 1-2 lemon
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 *F
- Mix the eggs, yogurt and baking powder to create a thin very runny cream.
- Take half of the pastry sheets and, one by one, put them down into a baking pan. Cover each one with a thin layer of the cream.
- Once done mix 1.5 cup sugar and the walnuts and cover the top layer with the mixture.
- Repeat with the rest of the pastry sheets:
one by one, put them down into a baking pan on top of the walnut mix. Cover each one with a thin layer of the cream.
- Before baking cut the Baklava into diagonals, squares, triangles or however you like:
- Bake until golden brown.
- Once done let it cool a bit then cover with syrup:
Make syrup by boiling 1.5 sugar and 1.5 water
- Thinly slice a lemon and cover the top of Baklava with it, this allows the Baklava to soak up the lemony flavor and remain moist, later on most people discard of the lemon but it does look quite phenomenal when serving a slice of the Baklava with a nicely cut slice of lemon on top.
- You can eat the Baklava right away, however it is recommended to let it cool and sit in the fridge for a good few hours so the pastry can take in all the juices and those lovely flavors form!
Baklava (also called baklawa), is made with thin layers of dough filled with chopped walnuts, cashews or pistachios and sweetened with syrup or honey.It is normally served at special occasions: Birthday Parties, Celebrations, Graduations, Retirement, Picnics, Weddings, and almost any get together, to enjoy the fabulous filo treat - baklava. Freshly made baklava is at its best from AuthenticSweets.com
Baklava is just one of the nicest things ever!
I'm not sure of its origins, I always think of it as Greek but in actual fact I think it is probably from Turkey or somewhere else. Your basic baklava is crisp layered filo pastry with a rich filling of crushed nuts soaked in a sickly sweet honey syrup. You also get ones which are like nests of shredded wheat or noodles, also with the nuts and syrup.
You can get them in any supermarket, priced at £2 or £3 for a smallish box but they are very rich so a little goes a long way and I would choose these over any sweets or chocolate. You can also get them on farmers / continental / specialist food markets but be very careful when you're buying the per 100g as depending on the size you can pick 3 or 4 out and already be into very expensive territory - I have been caught out on this before and would prefer to buy boxed than loose now. You can also get them in certain local ethnic shops and whilst I wouldn't like to guarantee all of these, in my experience these have been the best tasting and the best value.
I have tried making my own but just can't get that syrupy sweetness. These are a really sweet treat, you do have to have a sweet tooth but they are far more like luxury sweets or chocolates than cakes.
Baklava's origins are the subject of much debate although in one form or another it can be found across most of Central Asia. As with many things the Turks (on behalf of the ottomans more precisely) and the Greeks claim the delicious desert in its current form.
What is certain is that baklava is delicious, rich, sticky and very sweet. It is a desert made with layers of filo pastry, chopped pistachio nuts and soaked with syrup or honey. To look at baklava doesn't look that special-it is made in large plates and then cut into shaped pieces for eating and can look like merely a large baked brown pastry. When you pick it up it is firm but the syrup should be starting to ooze all over your fingers.
As the pastry is covered in syrup the sweetness is the first things that you can taste but it has a backing to it in the pastry which is slightly buttery. The nuts complete it with a subtle taste throughout the rest of the pastry. The savoury and sweet together is a little unusual but works very well. It is quite filling and as it is so sweet even a great lover of the stuff like myself can't handle more than a few pieces at a time.
In Turkey baklava is usually eaten with tea or coffee as a treat or version of afternoon tea and also on special occasions such as weddings or various partys and family gatherings.
The one downside of the pastry, unless you have an aversion to all things sweet or are diabetic, is that it is very high in calories and not healthy. As is easy to guess it is very high in sugar and fats. The best that can be said is that it is good for giving you a burst of energy and that eating one now and then is unlikely to do you any damage. Sometimes the best things just aren't good for you.
A warning; I believe that baklava is one of the world's greatest pastrys and I am not generally a big pastry or sweet desert lover yet some of it sold can be truly awful. If it is not well made, soggy with syrup rather than dry or with the wrong proportions of ingredients then the whole wonderful effect it spoilt. A reputable source is necessary though unfortunately I can't currently recommend one in the UK. However, if you can get ahold of the real deal then the rich sweetness is worth any hassle!
Baklava is a sweet pastry, so sweet and treacly that it will seem like a forbidden fruit! It is claimed by just about everyone from the Balkans, Middle East and Iran - the history book seems to think that it's from Central Asia of Turkic origin, possibly Uzbekistan and that its name may have derived from the Mongolian "bayla" - which means "to tie up".
Baklava comes in lots of different styles but is basically layers of thin pastry with various chopped nuts with so much syrup and honey that your fingers will be so sticky that they'll make you feel like Winney the Pooh.
I'm not sure how much I like it, it's ideal if you need a sugar kick but otherwise a little bit too sweet, particularly in large quantities. When travelling in the Middle East- I tend to eat it now and then but prefer the equally sweet Kunafa (which I may review seperately) to it. In Europe, I rarely eat it - maybe once a year. I think that the messyness of Baklava is part of the inconvenience, your hands seem to feel sticky for days after eating it!
My Dad used to work in export and sometimes he used to stay in a little hotel in Greece where he got friendly with the two elderly ladies who owned the hotel. As they got to know him and his sweet tooth, they used to send him back to the UK with a tray of baklava and as a child of about 7, that is the first time I tried it.
The filo pastry is crispy on the top and sticky where it is soaked through with the filling of chopped nuts (I think they might be pistachios) and honey, so you get a contrast of textures as well as a gorgeous sweet taste.
Obviously with ingredients like this, it isn't the healthiest food on earth and I don't even want to know what the calorie count would be but as it is so sweet, you don't actually want to eat a lot of it.
It isn't all that easy to get hold of the good stuff in the UK - Lakeland sold it for a couple of years but it didn't quite have the taste of the stuff that you can buy in Greek restaurants and delis. My advice would be give it a try if you have a little bit of a sweet tooth and if you find a good stockist, make a mental note of it as a good place to stop for a treat.