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Old 08-24-2006, 07:32 AM   #1
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ISO Lebanese/Syrian "baklawa" info!

Preferably from someone Lebanese or or Syrian (or someone knowledgeable who lives in Lebanon or Syria ...)

Specifically looking for:

1. the names given to the different varieties (those with kataifi rather than filo, for instance)

2. the procedure for those which, I think, are sauteed (or baked?) in ghee, becoming a bit hard in the process (Bourma and maybe Boukaj?)

Thanks!

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Old 08-24-2006, 10:09 AM   #2
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These desserts are common over the entire region. The Syrians, Greeks, Armenians, Turks, etc. all make these. The names are variations of one another and the recipes differ from home to home.

Baklava/paklava is made with multiple layers of phyllo/filo dough. The nuts differ from walnuts to pistachios. The syrup is either sugar or honey based.

Kataifi/kadaif is made with shredded filo dough and a similar nut mixture and syrup combination.

Burma is made with filo dough sprinkled with a nut mixture and rolled up on a wood dowel. Then the ends of the rolled dough are pushed towards the center so the dough folds up like an accordion.

The filo dough for the paklava and burma are brushed generously with butter and baked. The kadaif is not buttered this way.

All are baked, cooled and doused with syrup.
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Old 08-25-2006, 03:15 AM   #3
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I have always been able to taste rose water in baklavas in Lebanon and in Turkey. But I don't think the addition of rosewater would affect the texture too much.
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Old 08-25-2006, 03:50 AM   #4
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Thanks Andy and Ishbel!

Perhaps I should make it clear that I'm not unfamiliar with these sweets, I'm just seeking specifics so I can reproduce them at home.

The Greek "baklava" I'm very familiar with, of course, since I live in Greece, but the Lebanese/Syrian versions are quite different, both in terms of their variety and their taste (even though this will mark me a traitor, they're superior to the Greek). The ghee that they use, as well as the sugar/orange blossom water syrup, bring them to a whole new level of scrumptious!

I'm quite sure that the term "baklawa" is a generic term covering both a group of variations (in terms of ingredients, shapes, and cooking procedures, many of which I've been able to identify through Google research) and one of those types, what most of us consider "classic" baklawa/baklava (the square or diamond-shaped pieces made up of a series of layers of filo, then a layer of the nut mixure, then a top layer of more filo).

However, what I haven't been able to find is the procedure for one of the types -- the bourma I mentioned in my initial post (if I could figure out how to insert a photo in these posts, you'd be looking at it right now, although if anyone's wildly interested, you can easily see it by plugging in "bourma" to a Google image search). Like all the others, it's a dough (kataifi in this case) with a nut mixture inside, but unlike the more common baklawa which is baked and then syruped, these are, I believe, somewhere along the line, sauteed in ghee. The resulting texture (which I've only eaten, never produced) is very different from a classic baklawa -- it's harder and crunchier (and darker), perhaps from caramelization of the syrup, perhaps from the sauteeing, perhaps from both. THAT'S what I'm trying to figure out!

Ishbel, the syrup defintely has rose water (or, actually, orange blossom water I think) but I'd agree, that's not key to the texture. It IS key to the lovely flavor, however!

Again, any help would be welcome.
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Old 08-25-2006, 05:03 AM   #5
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They are amazing. My Lebanese friend's father used to bring me back fresh trays of them, I particularly enjoy the ones with "shredded wheat" rather than pastry, all though I think the pastry ones are divine too. I think what actually makes the treat so wonderful is the variety on a plate offered round....the choice is SO difficult, but an enjoyable one.
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Old 08-25-2006, 05:21 AM   #6
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Hi Lulu -- aren't they amazing?! Thank heavens we have one bakery here in Athens which makes these sweets (we have a million making the Greek style, of course) so every once in awhile when we're feeling flush, we buy a box. Yummmmmmm.

The "shredded wheat" pastry is the kataifi I refer to above (there are other spellings with all of these words since they're English-ified anyways). I like it in the "normal" way (baked dry and then doused with syrup) just fine, but it's extra scrummy this sauteed way too (you're in London? you can get these at Harrods, made by a company named Patchi, I believe).

And ... if I ever find out how to make them, I'll share!
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Old 08-25-2006, 05:27 AM   #7
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No, no, no no....don't tell me! LOL. I have had the Harrods ones, and they are good, but somehow lack the "sundrenched" flavour....I mean the taste is all there but something is not right! In fact I get better and much cheaper ones in a little Delicatesan in Kentish Town, near Camden....if any one wants directions I'll happily give them....I go there often and try something new every time.
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Old 08-25-2006, 05:50 AM   #8
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I have to confess that many of the sweets are far too sweet for me (and were, even before I was diagnosed as diabetic!)... But of them all, I preferred the shredded wheat type, too.

Lulu, there are some great Lebanese and Turkish patisseries in the Edgware Road, if you're ever in that area. My daughter has lived and worked in Lebanon and always ensures that on visits to the capital, we seem to always have a reason to visit that area and have lunch or dinner in one of the restaurants!

I lived in Cyprus for a number of years when I was a child, and our cook used to make THE most wonderful Greek pastries and puddings. Vasillou, where are you know, I wonder?!
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Old 08-25-2006, 09:28 AM   #9
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Burma


We've made these at home. They are baked dry and the syrup is added afterwards.
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Old 08-25-2006, 09:53 AM   #10
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There's a Lebanese family who makes the best falafel etc in Jersey City at a little place called "Ibby's." They also have amazing pastries, but nothing called "Bourma." There is a nut-encrusted one I particularly like called Marbrouma. Is that the one you mean? I'd be glad to ask them if they saute some of their pastries in ghee.
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