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Old 08-24-2006, 06:32 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, 09:09 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, 02:15 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, 02:50 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, 04:03 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, 04:21 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, 04:27 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, 04:50 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, 08:28 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, 08:53 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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Old 08-25-2006, 09:01 AM   #11
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Hi again everybody. Happy to see I've generated such interest ... and this is just THINKING about these yummy things!

Andy, thanks very much but those you show in the photo (how DID you insert that thing?!) aren't what I'm referring to. I'm really very sure they are sauteed.

Lulu, I don't get to London often, but I'm due. I'd love directions, please! Regarding that "sundrenched" flavor you miss, I wonder if it's the orange blossom water? Just amazing, amazing, stuff (ever had malahabiya, the creamy white milky dessert drenched with an orange-flower syrup and topped with chopped pistachios? TO DIE FOR!)

ChefJune, I'd be THRILLED if you ask at your Ibby's. If they're Lebanese, they'll know bourma (I can see reference to it everywhere, but you know ... water water everywhere and not an instruction in sight!) Again, I'm 99% positive that bourma's sauteed, and the "finish" on the "boukaj" is a bit different than the "normal" baklawa too, so I wonder if that's got a different procedure. Never mind though ... just work on the bourma if you'd like. And THANK YOU!
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Old 08-25-2006, 09:05 AM   #12
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Ah-ha, Andy? I think I just recognized what you're showing in the photo -- I think that's the Armenian version (for which I CAN find recipes, wouldn'tcha know?). That one's with filo, not kataifi, and a small amount of the nut mixture is spread over a leaf of filo which is then rolled around a dowel which is thereafter, duh, slipped out. That's clearly what's pictured wouldn't you say?

Just tell me your secrets about inserting photos and I'll post a knock-your-socks-off photo of the bourma I'm so nuts about!
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Old 08-25-2006, 09:10 AM   #13
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You are correct.

I found this foto on Google Images and cut and pasted it into the Quick Reply Window.

If you want to upload a photo, click on POST REPLY and scroll down to MANAGE ATTACHMENTS. You can then browse a foto file and upload it.
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Old 08-25-2006, 09:14 AM   #14
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I PMed you directions, I hope you enjoy them.
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Old 08-25-2006, 09:21 AM   #15
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Lulu! I'll PM you back. Thanks!

Andy, here goes, trying very hard to manage these attachement all right (will be very smug if I succeed).

If a photo does appear (doesn't show in preview, piffle) is NOT the "knock-your-socks-off" one I promised. That I downloaded and copied into a Word file for my own reference ... but have since forgotten where I got it!

Still, this should do the job?
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Old 08-25-2006, 09:23 AM   #16
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Hey, look!! Am I clever OR WHAT?!

Thanks, Andy!
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Old 08-25-2006, 09:24 AM   #17
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Yes, that is the one I LOVE! Well, I love them all, but that one is really good.
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Old 08-25-2006, 09:29 AM   #18
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Clearly, a woman of taste!
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Old 08-25-2006, 10:11 AM   #19
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Ayrton:

That's really a different dessert from what I posted. There are a lot more nuts in your dessert than there are in mine. I'll bet it's delicious!

Is this the one that's made with khadaifi dough and sauteed in ghee?
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Old 08-29-2006, 04:45 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
Ayrton:

That's really a different dessert from what I posted. There are a lot more nuts in your dessert than there are in mine. I'll bet it's delicious!

Is this the one that's made with khadaifi dough and sauteed in ghee?
Hi Andy -- sorry so long in replying. Busy week.

Yep, the photo I put in is the one with kataifi sauteed in ghee. It does have a lot of pistachios and it IS delicious, without a doubt!

Meanwhile, guess who tried making these babies this last weekend? Yup, me, just winging it since I can't yet find definitive guidelines.

And guess whose efforts looked a lot more like a big fat pistachio burrito than a petite Lebanese delicacy? Three guesses!

So here, for anybody who's interested, is what I did, both right and very wrong. (If anybody Syrian or Lebanese is sitting out there silent but laughing, help out, won'tcha?):

* * * * * * * * *

Made a pretty standard baklawa filling -- nuts (in this case, almost whole), some sugar, a bit of orange blossom water. Decided it was going to make me crazy working with it since it just fell apart, so threw some melted ghee in too. Minor improvement at best.

Got my box of frozen kataifi and thawed it. First time I've handled the stuff, so I walked around it a couple of times to try to find the entrance, and when that wasn't obvious ... just dug in. Kinda like trying to untangle a skein of very thin yarn.

Managed, somehow, to get it into a flat-ish shape. Decided it was way too much for the pistachio filling, so quick whipped up some walnut filling as well (same idea as the pistachio but fairly finely chopped, plus allspice). Pulled off a section of the kataifi that looked about right, took a deep breath, and piled the pistachio filling on in what I tried to make a neat row.

A neat row that pretty much just tumbled down, but somehow I managed to sort of roll the kataifi around it. I very soon realized that I was completely wrong about the proportions and that the walnut filling hadn't been necessary at all (my nut center was about 4 centimeters diameter when it should have been about 1.5 at most!).

Moving it to the frypan into the hot ghee was entertaining too, however, the good news is that from there on in, things got much easier.

The sauteeing in ghee was very straightforward and immediately the downwards side got firm so as I rotated it, it began to finally hold together. Sauteed it until all sides (making it kinda square, sigh) were a golden brown and fished it out. Poured my (cold) syrup over it and left it to rest. Syrup was a fairly light sugar syrup with a bit of lemon juice and a generous bit of orange blossom water. (As it rested, laid half the remaining kataifi out in a small square pan, topped it with the walnut mixture and then the final bit of kataifi and popped it into the oven. Syruped as above.)

Results? Flavor about a 9 out of 10, i.e., very much on target. Presentation about a 2 out of 10! Big, clumsy, not crunchy enough, not sliceable without just falling apart. Walnut one bloody excellent.

Did the family complain? Nope, not a word! Generally more than just edible, and overall pretty promising!

What ideas do I have for next time?

-- pre-mix the nuts with a bit of a thicker sugar syrup, hopefully so that they'll not only stick together but will allow me to roll them into a cylinder of sorts

-- providing I can accomplish that (big if ...) thereafter maybe a thinner bit of kataifi (again, big if ... hard stuff to work with!) wrapped several times around would hold.

-- would baking briefly prior to sauteeing help it hold firm?

-- sauteeing basically okay (although I suspect a thicker grade of "thread" might be available elsewhere since this was very "wispy" stuff). Honestly, it would be easier and still very, very delicious to just wrap it up in filo.

-- needed more syrup overall, and possibly a bit thicker


Anyhow, those are my notes! ANY AND ALL SUGGESTIONS WOULD BE VERY, VERY WELCOME!
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