Baklava

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Mandy's Baklava

2 1/4 cups caster sugar (Superfine)
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 TBS orange blossom water
7 oz walnuts, finely chopped
7 oz shelled pistachios, finely chopped
7 oz almonds, finely chopped
2 TBS caster sugar (Superfine), extra
2 tsp ground cinnamon
7oz unsalted butter, melted
13 oz filo dough pastry (Athens phyllo dough is what I use)

(personal notes)
I'm sure you've used caster sugar before, but in case you haven't, it usually comes in like 1 quart milk carton looking container. And ultimately, if you can't find it, not that big of a deal. It gets dissolved into water and mixed in with the nuts so its not like you need it for texture...
The orange blossom water - never been able to find it. But I have been able to find orange blossom HONEY which actually has a great fruity floral scent and flavor so I sub out the two TBS orange blossom water for extra honey. If you really want to, I've done the water with a few drops of orange extract. But I like the honey option.
The nuts - drop all of them into a food processor and pulse. You want the nuts somewhere inbetween sunflower seed size and pea size. Any smaller and you loose texture and the little bit of crunch from the nuts. And larger and you won't have enough nuts for two layers. But you can always chop more nuts.

The recipe -
1) put the 2 1/4 cups sugar, lemon zest and 1 1/2 cups water in a sauce pan and stir over high heat will the sugar dissolves, then boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until the syrup has thickened slightly and just coats the back of a spoon.
Add the honey, lemon juice, and orange blossom water and cook for two minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. ( At this point, to save time later, run it through the strainer now to remove zest and lemon bits/seed if you used fresh. The liquid will be hot and runny and less like syrup. So you can just pour it on to the hot baklava later. I put it right into the fridge to cool down. Overall you are looking for a finished texture a lot like the honey once it cools.)

2) preheat the oven to 325.
Combine the nuts, extra sugar and cinnamon.
Grease an 9x13 baking dish with melted butter
(I use my glass 9x13 pyrex. You can see all the pretty layers and check that you've sliced all the way through to the bottom layer once you get to that part at the end. You'll have to fold the edge of your filo unless you have an 11x12 pan. Also get a pastry brush that doesnt shed! Regular paint brushes are great actually)

Cover the base with a single layer of filo pastry and brush lightly with butter, folding over any overhanging edges. Continue to layer the filo, brushing with butter between each layer and folding the edges until you have used 10 sheets. (Keep the rest of the dough under a damp tea towel to prevent them from drying out. Otherwise, when they dry they will just shatter...and if the tea towel is too damp...they will stick together.)

3)Sprinkle half the nut mixture over the pastry and pat down evenly.
repeat the layering and buttering of 5 more sheets of dough and sprinkle the rest of the nuts. Then layer and butter 10 more sheets of filo dough, brushing the top layer with butter. press down the pastry with your hands so the pastry and nuts adhere to each other. Using a very sharp knife, cut into diamond shapes, ensuring you cut through the bottom layer. Pour any remaining butter evenly over the top and smooth with your hands.

(side note: You will have extra dough sheets I believe in this package, as well as an additional package in the box. Since I've read you like to get the most out of your ingredients, you may want to look up an additional recipe that uses the dough and make it right after this so you don't waste the remaining sheets) The other package will keep in the freezer till you need them again. Just give them a day or two to thaw in the fridge. You cannot use this dough frozen = tiny little pastry dough shards.

Bake at 325 for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 and bake 30 minutes more.

4) Remove from the oven and immediately cut through the original diamond marking and then pour the strained honey mixture evenly over the top. To achieve the right texture, its important for the baklava to be piping hot and the syrup to be cold when your pour the syrup. Use all the syrup. It will seem like you have alot but because the pastry is pretty dry and hot it will soak up and give you a great rich dense dessert.

Cool completely before serving.

24 comments:

  1. Baklava is a sweet honey-infused treat. I recently saw a Nutella version in Cooking Light.

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  2. i LOVE baklava!!!!!

    have never used caster sugar before or even known what it was. thanks for that info!

    this baklava looks splendid!

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  3. This looks great! I love baklava! Gorgeous photos--wish I had a piece to go with my coffee!

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  4. Ahhh Im so glad I checked your blog before I headed to work! Baklava is one of those things I would love to conquer!Perhaps I'll be brave and give this a try!

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  5. Oooh thank you Mandy. This stuff looks insane! Like the most gorgeous baklava we've ever seen...!

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  6. This looks really good! I've never made it before, but I've had some and it was a favorite. It does tend to be sweet, though that's nothing a cup of coffee or tea won't fix.

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  7. never tried to make it, but this looks amazing!!

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  8. Love this baklava! I should email you my family's potica nut roll bread recipe. I have made it many times with my dad or grandma.

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  9. Oh. Em. Gee. Emily, wow! My (nothing) ever looks this good!

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  10. Oh yum. I never made baklava before and I don't know why. I should because I LOVE it. I really love your recipe because it's made with almonds and pistachios. Too many of the Greek diners in this area just make it wth walnuts and of course my mouth burns like crazy after eating that many walnuts.

    Very clever trick with the orange blossom water. You can probably get that at a Middle Eastern market or maybe an online specialty store. I have bought rosewater at the former. Marc from No Recipes once gave me the names of some good ME markets in the city, but I haven't gone to them yet. Maybe I just gave you a good excuse to visit NY again.

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  11. I've been wanting to try making baklava and this looks like a great recipe to start with! Yours came out great!

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  12. Baklavas are delicious, I'm very fond of oriental recipes! They take a little time to prepare though, but are really worth it!

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  13. Anyone would be crazy not to hire you if you bring BAKLAVA to your job interview! You must be the bet employee ever!!

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  14. I want some NOW! You make amazing recipes and then take absolutely stunning photos! One of the best blogs I've found!
    -Robyn from http://tipsfromtheheart.blogspot.com

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  15. Haha I wonder if that works for first dates also. Would it be weird if I just showed up with baklava?

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  16. This looks so good. I like your emailing idea too! I feel like that will make for some interesting posts ..

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  17. That looks so delicious. And your pictures make it look so wonderfully crispy. Yum...

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  18. This looks so good! I won baklava recently from a contest on another blog, and have been craving more of it ever since. I feel like it would be a good recipe to make around Christmas since it's so rich and indulgent.

    - Maggie

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  19. I love Baklava and make it a couple of times a year. My husband is half Persian and it's a favorite dessert for Novruz, the celebration of the beginning of spring. Orange flower water is a lot like rosewater, a little goes a very long way and some people don't like it, but if you just use a little it gives everything a wonderful perfume.

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  20. Just beautiful and anything with almonds in it with honey, I'm in love. Thanks!

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  21. You can get Orange Blossom Water and lots of other extracts from company called Neilson-Massey in the States. They're at: http://www.nielsenmassey.com/consumerproducts.htm

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  22. i've never come across a wedge of baklava that wasn't terrific, but this batch looks particularly gooey and nutty. great recipe. :)

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  23. That looks like just about the best baklava ever. You're amazing.
    xo
    http://allykayler.blogspot.com/

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  24. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous baklava. I have a few friends who would love me forever if I made them that :-)

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