You are here

Greek Dessert Pastries

Baklava - Two Recipes

Baklava - Two Recipes
Baklava I
Copyright 2000 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved
1 pound shelled walnuts, toasted
1/2 pound blanched almonds, toasted
1/2 pound shelled pistachios, toasted
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 pound unsalted butter, melted
1 pound phyllo pastry sheets
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Finely chop the nuts in a food processor or coffee grinder. Transfer nuts to a bowl and mix in brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and cloves.
Brush a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with melted butter and set aside. Cut a piece of cardboard into a 13 by 9-inch rectangle. Unroll the phyllo dough and lay the sheets flat on a work surface. Set the cardboard template on the stack of phyllo and trim the excess so they fit the pan. Keep the pastry covered with a damp, not wet, towel as you work to prevent drying out.
To build the baklava, you will alternate 3 layers of dough with 2 layers of nuts. Start with a stable base of 8 sheets on the bottom, brushing each with melted butter. Spread 1/2 the nut mixture evenly over the stacked sheets. Cover with 4 sheets of phyllo, painting each with melted butter, then sprinkle again with remaining nut mixture. Top the last layer of nuts with 8 layers of phyllo as you did for the bottom. Drizzle any remaining butter over top.
If you have time, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes so the butter will set and make the baklava easier to cut. Using a sharp knife, make 5 cuts across lengthwise, then cut diagonally to form diamonds. Baklava is more difficult to cut after it is cooked because the pastry becomes so flaky. Bake for about 40 minutes until golden and flaky. If the top browns too quickly during baking, tent with foil.

Orange Scented Simple Syrup
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1/2 cup orange blossom honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 large strips orange peel
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
To make the syrup: combine the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes until thickened. Remove the orange peel, cinnamon stick, and whole clove; set aside to cool.
Remove an end piece of the baklava and tilt the pan to allow the butter to collect in the corner. Spoon out the excess and discard. With the pan flat, pour the syrup evenly over the hot baklava. Allow to stand for several hours before serving.
Yield: about 50 pieces, 25 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Baklava II
Here's a Baklava recipe that uses standard measurements. The trickiest part is coping with the phyllo dough, which can be bought frozen in many markets. A decent substitute would be frozen strudel dough.
1 pound unsalted (sweet) butter, melted (It really has to be butter, not a substitute)
1 pound phyllo dough sheets
1.5 pounds (24 ounces) chopped blanched almonds
1 pound shelled walnuts
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice or cloves
Thaw the phyllo before starting. Melt the butter.
Grind or chop together the walnuts and almonds, and mix together with the cinnamon, allspice or cloves, and sugar. Using a rectangular pan, preferably a 9x13x2, brush the pan with the melted butter. Separate a sheet of the thawed phyllo. Handling it as little as possible, lay a sheet in the bottom of the pan. Brush it with butter. Fold it over if necessary to fit in the pan. Do this until you have about 10-12 layers. Then put a layer of the nuts and spices mixture on top of the sheet of phyllo, cover with a other sheet of phyllo, paint that with butter, and continue in this manner until you've used all of your filling. Top with about an equal amount of the phyllo sheets as you used for the bottom. If you're a little short or a little over, don't worry about it. Too many layers can get a bit gummy, however. Be sure each sheet is brushed with butter.
Cut across the completed baklava with a sharp knife, into triangles or diamonds. Bake at 350 for about an hour, or until evenly browned on top - think a nice golden color like some of the sunsets you saw in Greece.
Pour the cooled syrup (recipe below) over it and let it sit before serving. If you can bear to.

2 cups honey
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 cinnamon sticks (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
1 teaspoon grated orange peel (or to taste)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or to taste) (Optional)
Simmer together the syrup ingredients for ten minutes and strain. Set aside. A good time to make this is just after you've put the baklava into the oven.

1 pack phyllo dough
2 1/2 cups walnuts chopped
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
3/4 cups sugar
1 cup butter
1 tsp cinammon
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups water
1 stick cinammon
1 lemon peel
1 tsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 170 C or 260 F.
In a bowl mix walnuts, sugar, bread crumbs and cinammon. Take one sheet from phyllo, brush it with melted butter and fold in half vertically.
Place 1 tablespoon walnut filling in one end, fold vertical ends inward and then roll to make a springroll-like roll. Repeat until all sheets are used.
Butter a baking pan. Place rolls next to each other and sprinkle with butter and water. Bake for 30 minutes Let cool, cover with towels and let stand overnight.
In a sauce pan bring to a boil sugar, water, lemon peel, lemon juice and cinammon stick. Let boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove lemon peel and cinammon. Pour warm syrup over cold flutes.

2 lbs "kataefe" phyllo
4 cups chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cup butter
1 tsp cinammon
2 eggs
4 tbs sugar
7 cups sugar
5 cups water
lemon peel
1 tsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 170 C or 260 F.
In a bowl mix walnuts, sugar, eggs and cinammon.
Melt butter. Butter a baking pan. Place half kataefe phyllo at the bottom and sprinkle with some melted butter. Place on top walnut filling. Place on top the rest of the kataefe phyllo, again sprinkling with butter.
Bake in medium heat for half and hour. Let cool, cover with towels and let stand overnight.
In a sauce pan bring to a boil sugar, water and lemon peel. Let boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove lemon peel. Pour warm syrup over cold kataefe.

2 cups butter at room temperature
1 cup of sugar
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup brandy
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups flour
2 cups peeled and chopped almonds
confectioner's sugar
Preheat oven at 200 C or 350 F
Sift flour and add baking powder and vanilla. Beat butter until white. Add sugar and beat. Add eggs and brandy. Add almonds. Add flour and knead well.
Form small round cookies. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool and sprinkle confectioner's sugar over them.

5 1/2 cups flour
1 tbs yeast
1 cup lukewarm water (for yeast)
warm water ( the amount is according to how soft or firm the dough will be)
1 tsp salt
oil for frying
2 cups sugar
1 cup honey
1 cup water
Sift flour and add salt. Dissolve yeast to water and let rest 10-15 minutes. Make a hole in flour and pour yeast in it and mix gently. Whisk continuously, adding warm water until a soft sticky paste is formed. Let dough rise and double in size.
Heat oil and drop 4-5 tbs in it from batter. When puffy and golden, remove and continue with rest of batter.
Bring sugar, honey and water to a boil for 6-7 minutes. Pour syrup over hot loukoumades. Sprinkle with cinammon.

6 cups flour (american style)
2 tbs dry yeast
1 2/3 cup melted butter
1 2/3 cups sugar
5 eggs
orange zest
lemon zest
1 tbs machlepi
1 1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
whole almonds, peeled
Sift flour and add salt. Dissolve yeast to milk, add 1 1/2 cup flour and let rise until double in size.
In a large saucepan over very low heat melt butter. Add beaten eggs (5), machlepi, sugar, orange and lemon zest and salt, stirring continuously. Add to yeast mixture and stir. Knead adding all flour, until dough is smooth
Cover and let rise until double in size. Deflate by punching down. Divide in equal portions depending how big or small you want the tsoureki to be. Cover baking pan with parchment paper and place tsoureki on paper.
Cover and let rise. Brush with egg and sprinkle with almonds. Bake in medium heat(280 F or 180 C) for about an hour.