Monday, October 10, 2011

Baklava

Sokehah Cheah | 4:16 PM | | | |



B aklava is a Middle-Eastern sweet pastry which is made only with thin dough pastry and loaded with nuts and then soaked with honey or syrup.  It is widely believed that  Baklava  is of Assyrian origin, dated back to around the 8th Century B.C.  They, the Assyrians baked this sumptuous treat only on special occasions and at that time only the rich could afford this luxury. But not anymore.  Nowadays, this sweet dessert is readily available and is found in the Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, Greece, Iran, Turkey and Lebanon.  However, each culture has its own distinct way of preparing this decadent dessert.








This dessert is made with Phyllo/Fillo pastry dough which is derived from the Greek word 'leaf' being 'as thin as a leaf' and it is this paper thin, delicate dough that gives Baklava a delicious crispy taste.  This pastry is not as fattening as perceived as I used canola oil instead of butter and had cut down on the sugar in the syrup.  In fact it's nutritious considering the wholesome goodness of the nuts, i.e. almonds and walnuts.

Recipe for Baklava

Ingredients
  • Pampas Fillo pastry
  • 100gm nibbed almonds
  • 50 gm walnuts, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4  tsp cinnamon powder
  • Melted butter/Canola oil  ( I used Canola oil)
  • Sesame seeds, lightly toasted  (optional)
Syrup
  • 1/4  cup sugar, 1/4  cup water, 2  Tbsp lemon juice, some fresh lemon peel
Method
  1. Prepare the syrup by mixing the sugar with water and lemon peel and cook under low flame.  After the sugar has dissolved, discard the lemon peel.  Stir in the lemon juice.  Set aside to cool.
  2. Mix the nuts with sugar and cinnamon, set aside.
  3. Brush a 8.1/2 x 4.1/2 x 3" dish with oil.  Score the fillo pastry to the size of the dish, allowing 1/4 inch at both sides.
  4. Place a sheet of  fillo pastry at the bottom of the oiled dish,  brush with a thin layer of oil, top with another layer of pastry, brush with oil.  Continue this process till there are 6 sheets of pastry.
  5. Sprinkle on a layer of nuts.  Dot some oil on the layer of nuts so that the next sheet of pastry will stick on it.
  6. Place another sheet of pastry on top of the nuts, brush with oil.  Repeat this process, meaning 2 sheets of pastry brushed with oil.  (You can choose to use 3 layers, if desired).
  7. Repeat step (5)  and (6) till the nut mixture is all used up.
  8. The top layer should be 6 layers thick as the bottom, each sheet of pastry being brushed with oil.
  9. Brush lightly with oil on the surface of the pastry.
  10. Using a serrated knife, cut lengthwise right through the bottom and then into squares.
  11. Place on the rack below the middle shelf and bake in a preheated oven @ 180 deg C for 25 mins.
  12. Remove the baklava from the oven, spoon the syrup over the hot baklava.  Sprinkle on some sesame seeds.  Let cool for at least 4 hours.
  13. Serve.
Note :  To prevent the fillo pastry from drying up and  becoming brittle, cover the pastries with a dampcloth while waiting to be used.  Keep any balance in the freezer.



17 comments:

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  1. Cheah, I love this Baklava, so nutty and crispy but how long can I keep (in a fridge)?

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  2. I like baklava but not too often because I find it sickly sweet, so when I saw that you reduced tha mount of sugar and used oils instead of butter in your recipe I really liked it!

    Wholesome Cook recently posted: {Day 9} Rainbow Doodle Jelly!!!

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  3. I make baklava but mine is much lower tahn your tower;)) It is relatively easy and the msot important thing is to cut it in pieces befor eyou bake it as afterwards it will be all over the place.And amount of syrup you are pouring on it also very important it is just right as you dont want too litle they will be dry..not too mcuh they will drown:)
    Your look just right:))

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  4. I have always been fascinated with the way baklava is assembled, seen a couple of videos on them in fact. you did yours so neatly...it must be a feat taking a piece out without breaking it! looks scrumptious!

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  5. Ann
    I googled before I made this and it seems you just keep it in a container, no mention of keeping in the fridge. Mine didn't last long as I made only a mini portion.

    Sonia
    It's my first time too!

    Martyna
    Yes, this version is more healthy.

    Dzoli
    Thanks for the tips. Mine wasn't too sweet and the syrup was just enough to be evenly distributed.

    Jeannie
    Yes, have to be very careful when assembling it as it's so thin and turns brittle very fast.

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  6. I love baklava too! Making your own with your own favourite ingredients and style is such a great idea. Your baklava is fantastic!

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  7. This looks delicious! I had no idea that making baklava could be so simple. I haven't eaten it in years. I would love to try this someday. Thanks for the idea!

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  8. Looks good Cheah! I like to use walnuts or pistachios too. And FYI, it can keep for very long, up to two weeks in the fridge (because of all the sugar syrup). But the texture will get a little bit hard. You can always reheat it. Yum. Now I'm craving some :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. cheah, looks so nutty. Will the filo pastry turns soft after several hours? i have eaten these filo before but cannot remember the texture..

    ReplyDelete
  10. Zoe
    Yes, you can use the type of nuts that you like and also reduce the amount of sugar.

    Mary
    You are most welcome.

    Shaz
    Thanks so much for the info. Yes, the sugar syrup acts as a preservative too.

    Lena
    No, it won't turn soft, it'll be a bit 'ngan'. Like Shaz said, can keep long if refrigerated. Fillo pastry can be used to make strudel too. It's paper thin, so must be careful not to tear it when assembling the pastry.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yum... nutty and delicious!
    Great attempt on drop caps... looks lovely, my friend! :)

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  12. Jacqueline
    Thank you so much for your encouragement!

    ReplyDelete
  13. As I do not have a sweet tooth, this is one thing that I have never dared to try although I come across it so many times!

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  14. I've only tried baklava once made by someone I know, but I didn't like it then because it was incredibly sweet. Thanks for sharing this recipe - now I can make it myself and make sure that it's not too sweet...:)!

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  15. I wasn't so sure of making this at the beginning but you've just tempting to do so. Thanks!
    Kristy

    ReplyDelete
  16. Kristy
    It's quite easy to make actually. Just give it a try.

    ReplyDelete

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