A new year, a new phase and in the back of my mind playing "Here I am " sung by Bryan Adams.
And on a new start in a new year what could be more appropriate than a sweet post. And I don’t need much to say about Baklava. Well blame it all over, our indulgence in having sweets or deserts this holiday season or these tempting Baklava which we were eating like anything.
This holiday season I have put on weight.There, there it goes to drain, all my efforts of healthy eating and healthy lifestyles. But whatever be the reason other than eating baklavas, do you think we food bloggers tend to put on weight faster than the normal jet speed is, as we have been blogging well about food or is it just me?
Scene 1- Somewhere in a suburbs office, at 8.45 a.m on a boring Monday morning. - So what is the first thing you see joining back to office/workplace after these relaxing holidays is over? You make notes of people around your cabin/cubicles.And what you take notes of? Well, how much weight one has put on. And again you feel elated when you see someone nagging about putting up more weight than you did this time. It well, makes you a winner in your own eyes. Well see I am doing little better than you. Oh! That again calls for some more sweets. Now where is my snack box with sugary walnut Baklavas…?
Scene 2- Somewhere near a school at 3.30 p.m. on a tiring Tuesday afternoon - While picking up your kid from school on the very first day of school after these long festive holidays, what you realize? You realize that some of the playground gossipers have picked up clothes that were put on sale at bargain prices on the great Boxing Day. No it’s not the clothes which are the problems, it’s the weight again. Those clothes do not fit them now and they need to exchange or return it. Again that makes you a winner in your eyes. Again that calls for another piece of having those royal baklavas.Now where is my snack box with some Baklava pieces tucked inside neatly...Was it in the car or was it in my purse..?
Scene 3 – Look, there are hundred reasons to eat Baklava and I don’t need to add much on that.And even if I keep on eating another piece of Baklava, well world will not come to an end.And again on next new year, we will be discussing about weight gain and its adverse effects on our lifestyle. It’s just like circle of life. As simple as that.
Baklava is traditionally a Turkish desert or may be a Lebanese or may be an Armenian desert or may be a Mediterranean Greek desert or whatever.What matters is you can make them in home and that too with the flavours you wish to add. I generally like to make these during festive times. Now I don’t think filo sheets is that much easily available back home. I don’t know about supermarkets there.If you any place , do share the Information here.
But here in abroad, you can easily get filo pastry/sheets from the frozen section of supermarkets. Usually a packet has 8-10 sheets which is what this recipe calls for. Take two packets to make double layer baklava.
These individual pieces, when brought from local café or cake outlets burns hole in the pockets. But if you can make them in home it’s much more economic and more importantly you know the stuff that goes inside it.
Now to the recipe
Baklava- a sweet treat
Recipe Requirements - makes- 20
- 1 packet of frozen filo pastry
- 3-4 cups of crushed walnuts and almonds
- ½ cup of pistachios crushed very finely and some more for garnishing
- ½ cup of melted butter
- 2 tsp of cinnamon powder
- 1 tbs of lemon juice and some lemon peels
- 7-8 tbs of caster sugar+ some more to mix with dry fruits about 2-3 tbs
- ¾ cup of water
- Thaw the frozen puff sheets/filo pastry prior of making the baklava.
- Now crush toasted walnuts and almonds with rolling pin over a chopping board or in a mixer. Always prepare the dried fruits mixture first.
- Flavor it with cinnamon powder+ little bit of caster sugar
- Before you start making the baklava, it’s better to make ahead sugar syrup first. This time I almost forgot. Tip- I have to cool it over a pan, a larger pan than the pan/pot with sugar syrup with ice-cold water stirring it.Well, kind of a quick chill. Just crush some ice in water to get ice-cold water; anyhow the water here is almost freezing in the month of December.
- Ok, now after you have made the sugar syrup, taste it to check the sweetness. Add more sugar and let it cook a little more or till sugar dissolves completely.
- If you are big fan of rose essence in your Baklava, I would recommend using it in sugar syrup, otherwise skip it.
- While making the sugar syrup, add cinnamon powder, about a tbs of lemon juice and some lemon peels if possible and make a good stir. Let it cool a little bit.
- Now start assembling the baklava.Filo sheets tends to become dry quick. Cover it with a towel while working with it.
- Melt butter in M/W.Melt just required coating the base layer of baklava. Then another batch when you are coating the top layer. The layering depends on the kind of how much thick or thin baklava you want to make. Traditionally a 38 – 40 layer baklava is made. No, I don’t think I can make that much so ended up using a single packet which has only 8 -10 sheets perhaps. So my base layer has 4 sheets and then the top layer has 4 sheets, and dried fruits are tucked inside precisely.
- Place a grease proof paper over a 13* 9 inch baking tray. If you wish you may cut the sheets into half. I thought just as folding the excess part over the sheet was much easy and besides it is quick and don’t get tear .Even if the sheets gets teared, don’t fret the end result hardly shows any impact.
- Now keep on coating/brushing the filo sheets and then placing it over against the last one. After 4-5 sheets, spread the dried fruit+cinnamon powder+sugar mixture generously and evenly.
- Now start covering with other sheets. Top layer will have at least 3 or 4 sheets. If you want a double layer of dried fruits then use two packets of filo pastry/puff sheets instead of one.
- Brush the remaining filo sheets with melted butter. Cut into diagonals like pyramids or into square of about 1*1 inch.
- Preheat an oven for 4-5 mints at 175 deg C. Transfer the assembled baklava into oven and bake for 15-20 mints or till the sheets turn little golden.
- Take out the baklava and then slowly start pouring the sugar syrup over it.Tip- Please do not hurry while pouring sugar syrup. Drizzle over the sides and along the diagonal cuts slowly about a tsp at a time.
- Let it sit there for overnight for better flavors next day. And if you don’t want to wait then enjoy.
- If you are not a big fan of spices, then skip cinnamon powder in sugar syrup and just drizzle plain sugar syrup. Adding rose essence or rose water also enhances the flavor.
- The dried fruit mixture can be pistachios or walnuts or almonds making them different types of Baklava.
- As a garnishing you can sprinkle pistachio powder.Just my two cents on Baklava.
Happy Cooking Friends