Friday, December 21, 2012


The first time I had baklava was Minnesota! We had bought me a Greek cookbook at the Greek Orthodox Church festival, and I loved preparing Yannis' favorite foods when we entertained. I had spent the good part of an afternoon making a big pan of baklava. I had left it on the counter and went about getting myself ready for the evening's party. When I returned to the kitchen an hour later, there were only a few pieces of baklava in the pan. It wasn't hard to figure out what had happened. Yannis and his friend were the only people in the house. I will always remember that baklava as the first one I ever made, the very best I've ever eaten, and the one that disappeared the quickest!

The Baklava Thief
1 lb. sweet butter, melted
1 lb. filo pastry leaves
1-2 lbs. blanched almonds, chopped
1 lb. chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped pistashios
2/3 cups sugar
2 teas. cinnamon
1 teas. allspice 3 dozen whole cloves

2 cups honey
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teas. vanilla pinch of salt

Combine ingredients for the syrup in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes; cool.  Coursely grind or chop the nuts and mix thoroughly with the cinnamon, allspice and sugar.  Brush a 9x13x2 inch pan with butter, lay a sheet of filo in the bottom, brush with butter, cover with another sheet of filo, brush with butter, and repeat process until you have used about a dozen sheets.  Spread one thin layer of the nut mixture on top of the filo; cover with a sheet of filo, brush with butter, cover with another layer of nuts, and repeat process until all the nuts are used.  Then cover with the remaining filo sheets, brushing each sheet with butter.  

With a very sharp knife, cut the top filo sheets into triangles-cutting diagonally across the pan.  Insert a clove in the center of each triangle and bake at 350 F./180 C. for 1 and 1/2 hours.  When the baklava is evenly browned, remove from oven and pour the cooled syrup evenly over it.
Allow to cool several  hours before serving-hide, if necessary!!

I find the secret to an excellent baklava is using good quality butter (preferably from Minnesota!), thick honey and generous amounts of nuts in any combination.  Baklava is actually a very healthy treat, so don't let any guilt spoil the joy!

No comments:

Post a Comment