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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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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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Old 12-06-2013, 09:35 PM   #11
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One recipe called for rose water. Not having a clue I decided to go with another recipe. I will have to look next shopping trip. The local stores are limited so every couple weeks we go into the nearest 'city' and hit a few favorite stores.
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Old 12-07-2013, 05:57 AM   #12
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You are most likely to find rose water in stores that cater to Middle Eastern clients.
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Old 12-07-2013, 03:32 PM   #13
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One recipe called for rose water. Not having a clue I decided to go with another recipe. I will have to look next shopping trip. The local stores are limited so every couple weeks we go into the nearest 'city' and hit a few favorite stores.
If you decide you must have rose water and can't find it in a store you could always go the mail order route. King Arthur Flour sells it in their store in NH, which is where I bought my bottle, or you can order online.
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Old 12-07-2013, 05:27 PM   #14
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I made Baklava (the Greek version I guess?) a while ago. It was truly delicious. (I thought so anyway.)

But it was horribly expensive (in the UK nuts are really pricy).

I had a great reaction from people who tried it. But honestly, the effort of trying to keep the filo sheets damp between the layers, made it a non-winner for me.

And have you seen how filo sheets are made fresh?? Who has a table and time for that?

If you find a supplier of good Baklava, buy it I say!
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Old 12-07-2013, 05:54 PM   #15
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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.
I use it a lot (I am the world's worst pastry maker - my mother used to say that good pastry makers have cold hands and a warm heart but that I had warm hands and a cold heart . She could very well be right.)

Did you try to make your own? Even in the country of origin they buy the stuff.

The secret is a damp cloth to cover the phyllo you aren't using. I admit that the first time I used it it was a bit of a trial because I wasn't used to the fragility but once you get over being frightened of it and learn to work quickly you're fine.

As well as baklava and other eastern Med dishes, I cheat and make apfel strudel with it. (I know, I know, but I only have limited tolerance for all that stretching.)
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Old 12-07-2013, 07:28 PM   #16
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KatyCooks, yeah the nuts made it scary expensive to make.
Mad Cook, I used the damp cloth method but I think the problem I had was the quick thaw method from Alton Brown. The dough seemed to have been a little cooked/dry in some areas, the areas that gave me fits. I am going to try again in a couple weeks.
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Old 12-07-2013, 09:51 PM   #17
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On the rare occasions I have used the dough, I melted the butter, poured it into a small spray bottle that I kept in a pan of very hot water. Spraying the dough between layers goes much faster that way and less chance of tearing it. I also have three special thin pastry towels that I sprayed with water rather than wet them under the faucet and then wring them out. Just enough moisture to keep from going on the dough and making it more difficult to handle. Working with this dough takes a lot of patience. More than I have now.
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Old 12-08-2013, 04:39 PM   #18
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Ooo, will use the spray bottle idea.
Thanks
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:44 PM   #19
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Ooo, will use the spray bottle idea.
Thanks
You're welcome. My pleasure. Just remember to keep it sitting in hot water to keep the butter melted. and wipe the bottom off so the water doesn't drip on the dough.
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:16 PM   #20
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I made Baklava (the Greek version I guess?) a while ago. It was truly delicious. (I thought so anyway.)

But it was horribly expensive (in the UK nuts are really pricy).

I had a great reaction from people who tried it. But honestly, the effort of trying to keep the filo sheets damp between the layers, made it a non-winner for me.

And have you seen how filo sheets are made fresh?? Who has a table and time for that?

If you find a supplier of good Baklava, buy it I say!


Here you go

Our most popular baklava pastries
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