Thursday, September 16, 2010

Baklava. A sweet taste from the Middle-East.


Hmmm Baklava! Finally I learnt to make them. Baklava is my favorite sweet pastry or desert ever! And here I will share with you what I learnt a couple of weeks ago from a Syrian friend at the Integration Course I'm currently attending.

She took to the course some she made for her birthday and I just had to ask her for the recipe, so one week later I finally made them! One of my "cuisine" dreams came true, so now I can make them whenever I want. So easy, fast to make (20 mins. approx.) and sooooo delicious!

Baklava is an ancient and traditional sweet pastry from Middle east countries. It can be found from Iran to Turkey, with different forms and names, but normally sharing the basic ingredients. According to the information in Wikipedia, seems the one known worldwide today is from the region of central Turkey. But other countries also claim to be the parents of this delicious and nutty pastry.

Short note: the quantities were measured by me without knowing how much was I going to need. In the end they were fairly good. For my next time, I will add a bit more of Walnuts and Pistachio nuts, just because I love them.

Baklava


Ingredients:
  • 1 roll of Puff pastry (you can find them on Supermarkets ready done. If frozen, let it defrost overnight on the fridge. It should be room temperature when you're going to work with it)
  • 100 gr. Walnuts
  • 40 gr. Pistachio nuts
  • 30 gr. Sugar (I used Brown sugar, better taste, not refined and better color for the syrup)
  • 3 Tbsp. Margarine or Butter (melted or very soft)
  • Wheat flour to spread over the Puff pastry when working it.

Preparation:

Crush the Walnuts and the Pistachio nuts separately in your food processor. Reserve

Unroll the Puff Pastry on your working table. Spread some flour above it, keeping the backing paper where the roll comes, under your dough. Then use your rolling pin to make the dough at least 50% thinner than already is.

My friend (Seham) insisted that the Puff Pastry rolls found normally on the supermarkets are too thick for a good Baklava. She insisted in a different one, that she finds in specialized store for Middle east food (Turkish food store as they are called here).

Later looking for info on the internet, I found the name is Filo Dough (very thin layers of the dough worked separately), it is much more work, but I'll give it a try someday. So far with the normal Puff dough I worked with, the result was very good.

So I decided to give it a try, making it thinner, handling it very carefully not to make holes on it when it is too thin or stretched (difficult to do, I made holes anyway, but easy to be repaired).

Once is thin enough, spread the butter or margarine over the dough with a brush if you have it, or carefully with your fingers. Always avoid making holes to the thin layer of dough.

Then spread the walnuts all over the surface of your dough. Spread and compress with your hands, until an evenly layer of walnuts cover it. Spread the half of the Pistachio nuts above the walnuts.

Spread 2 Tbs of sugar above, try to cover all the surface. Add more sugar if you want it more sweet, or less or nothing if you don't want them that sweet. Sugar inside its a matter of taste. I added 2 Tbs. of sugar was quite good the sweet point for each Baklava.


Now comes the tricky part. From one of the sides (the most comfortable and easier to handle for you), begin to roll tightly and very careful not to break the dough and make holes. I had the problem that when spreading the dough with the wooden roll, the pastry dough got a bit sticked into the backing paper for protection. So next time I will try a different brand.

Roll tightly, carefully and evenly until you reach the end. Keep some flour on your working board. Close the long tube by rolling it with your hands over the working board. If you need (I had to) cut in 2 halves with a sharp knife.


The long tube will be a bit too thick, so roll it until you have a thinner tube, more or less the thickness of your thumb.  With the sharp knife, cut in pieces, the size of your index or middle finger (7 cm / 2.7" approx.)

Add the Pistachio nuts to each roll. and place them in your baking plate, over backing paper. Bake at 190°C /370°F for 20 minutes or until they have a golden color on their surface. The smell of them in the oven is sooooooooooo good!

While they are in the oven, let's make the quick syrup. In a small cooking pot in medium to low heat/fire, add one Tbsp. of butter or margarine and the rest of the sugar. Move constantly until the sugar melts. Let it boil for some seconds, and move out of the heat. You can scent it with some drops of lemon. Will add an extra refreshing flavor.

When the Baklava is done. Get them out and bath (with a spoon)  each "finger" with the syrup. The syrup should be still warm or hot if better, in any case liquid enough to be spread over the Baklava rolls, so when they are cold, they won't be too sticky.

Finally, spread the rest of the Pistachio nuts above them. And serve and enjoy!

2 comments:

Wendy Martin said...

Just amazing. I love your posts. Thanks :)

Van said...

:)