Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Holes in My Head

I attribute 90% of the holes in my head to ONE indulgence. 

No really, I am guessing most of you are familiar with this treat.  It is a Greek pastry and it is wonderful!

Our very belated Greek Easter gathering is just around the corner and I am probably not going to be ready.  But reinforcements are coming in the form of younger and more able bodied cousins!  WooHoo!  Not only do we have lots of food to prepare and freeze ahead of time (thankfully most does!), it has been so icky outside that my garden is a puddle.  So no planting, just cooking for me!  (sewing machine, what sewing machine?)

How to Make Baklava
Pronounced Bock-la-va


2# Walnuts
1 # Fillo / Phyllo Sheets (fee-low)
1 1/2 # Butter (salted)
1/2 C. Brown Sugar
1 t. Cinnamon

For the Sauce:

1 C. Honey
1 T. Lemon Juice +\-, to taste
1 T. Water +\-, for consistency

For tips on handling Phyllo, you can visit This Post. 
Slowly melt butter in a medium sauce pan.
With a food processor or other chopper of choice, chop nuts to a fine texture.
Add the Brown Sugar and Cinnamon to the nuts and blend very well.  Work out all lumps with a fork if necessary.
Set Aside.

Butter the bottom of a 9*13 pan.
(Note:  you may need to trim Phyllo to fit pan.)
Begin layering the Phyllo one at a time and buttering each layer.  Four to Six layers is sufficient for your base.
Lightly layer 1 1/2 C. of the nut mixture and smooth to edges.
Add Two layers of Phyllo -one at a time and buttering each layer.
Because the pan most likely has rounded corners, don't be afraid to occassionaly lift the squared corners of the phyllo and lightly fold them over.  Give them a shot of butter when you do.
Repeat steps until nut mixture is gone.
Top with additional Three to Four layers of Phyllo one at a time and buttering each layer.

That was actually the easy part, or so I have always thought!  For this dish, you have to cut it before you bake it.  A super sharp knife is key!  Since I don't do cute, just do your best!

Start by cutting equi-measure lengthwise.

Then go at a diagonal.  Something akin to this:
Because I am hoping to get as many servings from one batch as possible, I did a diagonal the opposite direction as well.  It's up to you!
You can place your index finger and thumb on both sides of top pastrty layer and chase your knife as you go because the tops of those buggers will want to pull up!  Don't worry, I promise the little fingerprints left behind will bake off!

Lightly drizzle and brush the entire dish with remaining butter. 
Bake at 325 for 1.5 hours or until nice and golden brown and flakey.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce:
In a medium sauce pan on low heat, combine the 1 C. Honey with Lemon and Water.  Start with Tablespoon measures on the lemon and water. 

Your sauce should not taste like honey.  It should not taste like lemon.  It should be a blend of the flavors with neither over-powering the other.  The flavor will also depend on the honey itself.   This was the first batch I've made with our own honey!!  :) 

The consitincey of the sauce should be thicker than water and thinner than honey.  You can always add more of one or the other to correct the taste or more water for thinner consistency.  It really just needs to be to your liking!  So no worries!
When the Baklava is done baking, remove from the oven and with a large spoon, drizzle ALL the sauce on.  It will soak up nicely.

If you can hold out, let it cool.  :o)

This dish freezes wonderfully!  You could place the slices in smaller containers and really "Wow!" your guests!
Now...go make a dentist appointment to fix the holes in yer head!


  1. SO good! Last time we had Middle Eastern night for dinner I made a similar dessert and it was full of ground almonds and the kids said "we don't want nuts!"... hubby and I said "good - more for us!". An hour later I caught them picking at it in the kitchen, LOL

  2. and oh yeah - WHAT sewing machine???! I'm dying to sew, but just don't have the time :)

  3. Oh great! Just what I need right now! To be wrestling with phyllo!! ;o} The only baklava I've tasted has seemed too, too sweet (obviously wasn't a good recipe) but my hubby has always loved it and would be elated if I gave this a go. Thanks so much for your easy-peasy sounding instructions and pictures.

    Time for sewing? I think we're all in the same boat here. BUT I did just finish a little dolly quilt to give to Chicken Mama's "Peanut" when I give her new little brother his quilt. Now if I can just find time to post pictures of them both . . .

  4. Cruel...very cruel. And you had to bring up eating it out of the oven! I never had warm baklava. Now I need it. Where is that damn fence you could just pass it over?

  5. Erin, the "More for Us" mentality is always what we pray for whenever people look at something with a wrinkled nose. We are never offended because well...ya know!

    MamaPea, my step mom doesn't like overly sweet stuff either. However she does love this recipe! It's really not that sweet oddly enough. And believe it or not, doesn't take long either.

    To you both regarding sewing, at some point the desire will out weigh and we will NEED to sew something. Either that or take a pill! :)

    Jane, when the cow comes to the fence, I will make sure she brings you some ;)

  6. Have any good summer sweet recipes that don't entail turning on the oven/ I will not run my oven in the summertime! I know its not warm here yet--but give it time --we go straight from 2 days of spring to winter again and than boom its summer in MN.

  7. OOH, does that look good! I am not a fan of really sweet stuff either, but holy-moley, I might make an exception for a piece or five of that!

  8. I'm about to lick the screen. Thanks satan! Now I'm going to have to go to the store to buy some Phyllo.

  9. Judy, hmm only one comes to mind along the Greek line. Are you opposed to the fry pan in summer?

    Susan, I think the amount of nuts really cuts down on the sweet. Then again I could be so conditioned after eating this my whole life that I am off my rocker. But really, only 1/2 C brown sugar and 1 C Honey isn't tooooo bad. Right???? ;)

    Carolyn, HA! You got me on that one! Am I like the Church Lady from SNL or something?

  10. what do you have in mind? I do use the fry-pan a lot in the warmer weather,thanks

  11. Judy, one of my Dads favorites is called Diples. It's fried pastry with a honey sauce. If you'd like, I'd be happy to send you the recipe! Since your name shows up without a link, and if you want, you can email me at TheApplePieGal@gmail.com and I will send it to you. :)