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Old 12-04-2013, 11:07 PM   #1
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Baklava - I gave it a try.

I had to give it a go, baklava is something that has fascinated me. So today I gave it a shot, first step was finding out that this is an investment in ingredients. Not that many but nuts come at a steep price. The phyllo dough was new to me as are most cooking and baking items. Used Alton Brown's method to thaw the dough quickly, if I do this again I'll plan ahead and allow the dough to thaw in the fridge or counter since I think AB's method causes a couple spots to dry out. I still need to work faster, keeping the dough workable and moist was a challenge with the fold seems dry immediately.
Adding the syrup to the baked baklava was neat! I added about half the syrup and things sounded like a whole new baking process had started. After a minute to let this syrup soak in I added more and the new sounded started again. Now I just have to wait for things to set, anywhere from an hour to overnight.

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Old 12-04-2013, 11:14 PM   #2
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Congratulations! It's a great dessert. I've been eating it for decades and now make my own. I also taught SO to make it as she has more patience working with the dough.

I recommend placing a damp kitchen towel on top of the filo sheets to prevent their drying out while you work.

Here's what her's looks like.
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:02 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbobson View Post
I had to give it a go, baklava is something that has fascinated me. So today I gave it a shot,.............I still need to work faster, keeping the dough workable and moist was a challenge with the fold seems dry immediately............
Our neighbors bring homemade baklava to any neighborhood gathering and it is gone like poof that! Congrats on taking on what I see as a real challenge.

Although I've never made baklava I have been told that when working with phyllo dough you can prevent it from drying out by covering the dough with a damp paper towel. You might want to give that a go the next time you work with phyllo.
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:15 PM   #4
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I worked with phyllo dough just once. Too much work and you have to work really fast. I made pockets with steamed spinach and toasted pine nuts. They came out great, but left me exhausted. If I ever decide to try it again, I will make sure I take a long nap first.
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Old 12-05-2013, 04:58 PM   #5
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FYI, baklava or paklava is made in any number of the countries in the region, including Greece, Turkey, Armenia and much of the Middle East. If it's spelled with a "B", it's usually Greek while in Armenia it's spelled with a "P". The syrup can be simple syrup or honey or a combination. The nuts can be walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, etc.

In addition to the type that's made in a pan and sliced, you can use the same ingredients to make individual pastries.
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Old 12-05-2013, 05:06 PM   #6
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I had a Greek-themed party in 2000, to celebrate the Olympics in Greece and I made mini spanakopita pies - phyllo filled with spinach and feta. I made them the weekend before, froze them, and thawed and baked them the day of the party. It was a big hit. I need to have another party like that.

I also got really lucky with the desserts. The Greek Annunciation Church was having a bake sale the day before so I bought a variety of pastries from them
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Old 12-05-2013, 06:40 PM   #7
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We are blessed in my city. We have several Greek church festivals usually late summer. We stumbled on one many years ago, and I have attended it ever since. Dancing. music, etc. Those church ladies make the best pastries, baklava yes, and others which are not seen on restaurant menus. It's a nice way to expand one's cultural and taste experiences.

Good on you to make baklava. I hope you want to do it again.
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Old 12-06-2013, 12:00 AM   #8
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There's a Greek Church Fest every year about 40 miles from us, we keep meaning to get there. Fantastic food.
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:03 PM   #9
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Really was great fun. My wife has been busy sharing portions with co-workers and neighbors, a 9x13 is a bit much for the two of us. My bride has already informed me that I will be making it for Christmas to share with family and some good friends that we are only able to visit a couple times a year. Must admit that a cup of Red Rose tea sweetened with honey and a slice of the baklava makes a wonderful snack. For Christmas I will be adding some orange juice or orange zest to the sauce, I think a little sweet citrus would be nice.
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Old 12-06-2013, 09:27 PM   #10
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Look into rose water or orange water to flavor the syrup. Both are regional standard flavorings.
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