Blog This Blog That...A Short Introduction

A Little Hello
Time to get started, I suppose. First off, this probably won't be a daily blog style, more of a post as I can due to my schedule, but hopefully it'll give you a nice taste of the meals and desserts I've happily grown up with. As well as learning the ropes of how to work the blog...Be on the lookout as I'm sure formatting will continue to change.I hope to use this as a place to share some good recipes with others and learn to improve upon my own cooking skills! After all, the best way to learn is by doing, correct? As an Occupational Therapist I will say, it is important to engage in occupations that we find interesting and meaningful to help improve our everyday quality of life! It just so happens, for me, I am interested in cooking/baking, and writing (So kill two birds with one stone here!). With that all said, I welcome you here, and hope you can find a recipe or two that you throughly enjoy (and can put your own spin on). Happy food hunting :)

May 10, 2011

Sweet Tooth? How about Baklava!

photo courtesy of Andy Alfaro from
I can remember as a kid one of my favorite Christmas desserts was ALWAYS the sweet, gooey, delicious baklava that my mom made. Another Greek recipe that involves the fun to work with phyllo dough! My brother and I would always like when she made it because she'd let us eat the end pieces right away (even if it was before dinner). After she'd taught me the recipe this has become a quick favorite of my friends, and whenever we make baked goods they generally ask for me to make it. I happily comply since one batch will give me plenty of tasty baklava.
Items Needed
Cookie sheet
Pastry Brush
Tin Foil
Medium bowl
Small sauce pan
Muffin tin baking cups

1 lb chopped walnuts
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp lemon juice
about 5-10 whole cloves

Other Ingredients:
1 stick butter (melted)
1 roll phyllo dough (room temp)

Work Station
The work station is set up the same way as the workstation for Spanakopita. Again, it is advised to set up the work station first before starting the mixture.

If you're like me and sometimes forget that the walnuts need to be chopped, chop up the walnuts and add them to your mixing bowl. Add the sugar and cinnamon and mix throughly. Add the bowl of mixture to your work station and melt the stick of butter in a separate small bowl. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once again butter your cookie sheet (those Greeks love their butter to cook with!) then begin preparation for your baklava! To may balkava you need a layer of seven phyllo dough sheets. Make sure to butter each layer of phyllo dough! One you have the 7th sheet of phyllo dough laid and buttered, scoop out the mixture. I usually use the 1/2 cup measuring cup to scoop out the mixture. Pour the mixture onto the phyllo dough and spread it out to the edges making sure to leave about a strip of about an inch of uncovered phyllo dough.
(hopefully the diagram makes sense!) Once you have the mixture spread out tightly roll the phyllo dough into a horizontal strip. Make sure it stays tight otherwise it will tend to loosen and unroll as it cooks. Seam side down, set the long roll onto the buttered cookie sheet. Repeat this process until you either a)run out of phyllo dough b)mixture or c)fill up the cookie sheet. Usually I can get about 4 rolls of baklava on a cookie sheet. Butter the tops of the baklava with the remaining melted butter. With a serrated knife cut the baklava into diagonals, but do not cut the entire way through, just enough that it separates each of the sections. Pop the baklava into the oven for about 45 mins. Keep an eye on the baklava, you'll know it's done when it is a nice golden color. While you wait for the baklava to cook you can start the yummy sauce!

Turn on the burner to about medium-high to high. mix the water and sugar together stirring often until the mixture starts to boil. When the mixture starts to boil, lower the heat to about medium and add the lemon juice, honey, and cloves. Simmer for about 10-15 mins stirring often then turn off the heat. If the sauce cools before the baklava is done just re-heat it on the stove before you pour it. Now you can add the sauce at one of two different times. I usually add the sauce to the baklava right when it's out of the oven and let it all cool together. My mom usually waits for the baklava to cool first (keeping the sauce warm) and then pours the sauce (heated) over the baklava allowing it to cool down again.

Finishing Touches
Once the baklava is completely cooled down, take the serrated knife and cut the rest of the way through the baklava to separate the sections (warning: WILL BE STICKY AND MESSY) So worth it though. Separating the muffin tin baking cups, use the tin cups for each of the pieces of baklava. They are usually the perfect serving size.

Final Thoughts
A nice little dessert treat that is sweet and nutty. I still ask for this desert every chance I can, and now that I know how to make it, it is also often requested by friends. Some baklava and a cup of coffee is a common sight to see when I'm back home with my family after a hearty dinner. Sitting around the table unwinding and enjoying this tasty treat. Hope you enjoy! Happy eats! =D

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