Baklava

Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.

Well, what to say about this challenge…it was a great challenge, great fun and a great experience. I just didn’t like the end result. It was just way too sweet for me. Way to sweet.

I halved the filling and syrup recipe and didn’t double the pastry recipe (as suggested to fill a 9×9 tin). This made enough to fill a 8×5 tin. But there was just way too much syrup even though I halved it – even by well into the next day it was a puddle. And it was just messy, sticky, tooth achingly sweet and sickly, I’m sad to say. And its not just me, Mat who can eat sugar from a spoon felt the same. I did actually like the flavour, the warm spices and nuttiness was lovely, maybe I’ll just reduce the sugar next time. The pastry was great, I loved it and it wasn’t really hard at all just not mega quick but also not hours long! Perfect for a quiet Sunday afternoon.

Here’s the recipe: Serves 16

Phyllo Dough:
*Note 1: This phyllo recipe will fill a 8” x 5” baking dish. Double the recipe and leave baklava recipe as it is to make a 9×9 baklava. If using a single phyllo recipe (8×5, halve baklava filling recipe and as much as quarter the syrup, see above)
*Note 2: Dough can be made a head of time and froze. Just remove from freezer, allow to thaw and continue making your baklava

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups (320 ml) (185 gm/6½ oz) unbleached all purpose (plain) flour
1/8 teaspoon (2/3 ml) (¾ gm) salt
1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) cider vinegar, (could substitute white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar, but could affect the taste) I used standard white distilled vinegar

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer combine flour and salt
  2. Mix with paddle attachment
  3. Combine water, oil and vinegar in a small bowl.
  4. Add water & oil mixture with mixer on low speed, mix until you get a soft dough, if it appears dry add a little more water, the dough should come together.
  5. Change to the dough hook and let knead approximately 10 minutes. You will end up with beautiful smooth dough. If you are kneading by hand, knead approx. 20 minutes.
6. Remove the dough from mixer and continue to knead for 2 more minutes. Pick up the dough and through it down hard on the counter a few times during the kneading process.
7. Shape the dough into a ball and lightly cover with oil.
8.Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest 30-90 minutes, longer is best.

Rolling the Phyllo:
** Remove all rings and jewelry so it does not snag the dough**
Use whatever means you have to get the dough as thin as you can. You may also
use a pasta machine if you have one, or a normal rolling pin whatever works for you.

  1. Unwrap your dough and cut off a chunk slightly larger then a golf ball. While you are rolling be sure to keep the other dough covered so it doesn’t dry out.
  2. Be sure to flour your hands, rolling pin and counter. As you roll you will need to keep adding, don’t worry, you can’t over-flour.
  3. Roll out the dough a bit to flatten it out.
  4. Wrap the dough around your rolling pin/dowel
  5. Roll back and forth quickly with the dough remaining on the dowel
  6. Remove; notice how much bigger it is!
  7. Rotate and repeat until it is as thin as you can it. Don’t worry if you get rips in the dough, as long as you have one perfect one for the top you will never notice.
  8. When you get it as thin as you can with the rolling pin, carefully pick it up with well floured hands
  9. and stretch it on the backs of your hands as you would a pizza dough, just helps make it that much
  10. thinner. Roll out your dough until it is transparent. NOTE: you will not get it as thin as the frozen
  11. phyllo dough you purchase at the store, it is made by machine
  12. Set aside on a well-floured surface. Repeat the process until your dough is used up. Between each
  13. sheet again flour well. You will not need to cover your dough with a wet cloth, as you do with
  14. boxed dough, it is moist enough that it will not dry out.

Baklava:

Filling: (halve this for just one phyllo recipe or double phyllo recipe for this amount of filling)

1 (5-inch/125 mm piece) cinnamon stick, broken into 2 to 3 pieces or 2 teaspoons (10 ml) (8 gm) ground cinnamon
15 to 20 whole allspice berries ( I just used a few pinches)
3/4 cup (180 ml) (170 gm/6 oz) blanched almonds
3/4 cup (180 ml) (155 gm/5½ oz) raw or roasted walnuts
3/4 cup (180 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) raw or roasted pistachios
2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm/ 5 1/3 oz) sugar
phyllo dough (see recipe above)
1 cup (2 sticks) (240 ml) (225g/8 oz) melted butter **I did not need this much, less then half** (or oil, margarine)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
  2. Combine nuts, sugar and spices in a food processor and pulse on high until finely chopped. If you do not have a food processor chop with a sharp knife as fine as you can. Set aside
  3. Trim your phyllo sheets to fit in your pan
  4. Brush bottom of pan with butter or oil and place first phyllo sheet
  5. Brush the first phyllo sheet with butter or oil  and repeat approximately 5 times ending with butter. (Most recipes say more, but homemade phyllo is thicker so it’s not needed)
  6. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
  7. On the top layer, make sure you have a piece of phyllo with no holes if possible.
  8. Once you have applied the top layer tuck in all the edges to give a nice appearance.
  9. With a Sharp knife cut your baklava in desired shapes and number of pieces. If you can’t cut all the ways through don’t worry you will cut again later. A 9×9 pan cuts nicely into 30 pieces. Then brush with a generous layer of butter making sure to cover every area and edge.
  10. Bake for approximately 30 minutes; remove from oven and cut again this time all the way through. Continue baking for another 30 minutes. (Oven temperatures will vary, you are looking for the top to be a golden brown, take close watch yours may need more or less time in the oven) Once the baklava is in the oven, start on the syrup, recipe below.
  11. When baklava is cooked remove from oven and pour the cooled (will still be warmish) syrup evenly over the top, taking care to cover all surfaces when pouring.
  12. Allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled cover and store at room temperature. Allow the baklava to sit overnight to absorb the syrup.
  13. Serve at room temperature.

For the syrup:
· 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) honey (or agave for vegan option)
· 1 1/4 cups (300ml) water
· 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) (280 gm/10 oz) sugar
· 1 cinnamon stick
· 1 (2-inch/50 mm) piece fresh citrus peel (lemon or orange work best)
· a few cloves or a pinch or ground clove

When you put your baklava in the oven start making your syrup. When you combine the two, one of them needs to be hot, I find it better when the baklava is hot and the syrup has cooled

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium pot over medium high heat. Stir occasionally until sugar has dissolved.
  2. Boil for 10 minutes, stir occasionally.
  3. Once boiled for 10 minutes remove from heat and strain cinnamon stick and lemon, allow to cool as baklava cooks.

Recipe Source:
Phyllo Dough Recipe – Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers
Baklava – Adapted from Alton Brown, Food Network

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This entry was posted in Bars and slices, Daring Bakers, Desserts, Egg-free, Pastries, Tarts and Pies, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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