Monday, February 11, 2019

Baklava

  

Recipe by Maria Savvenas


Ingredients:
Filling:
  • 3 cups walnuts
  • 3 cups almonds
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • Grand Marnier, generous splash    (maybe 2 oz.)
Pulse walnuts and almonds in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Combine walnuts, almonds, cinnamon, cloves, and enough Grand Marnier to slightly moisten the mixture in a bowl. Set aside.

Assembly:
  • One Athens 1 lb. box fillo dough, at room temperature
  • 3/4 lb. Plugra Sweet Cream European-style butter, melted
Brush the bottom and sides of a 9 X 13 in. baking pan generously with butter. Working with one fillo sheet at a time, remove the top sheet, and replace the dry and wet tea towels back on the stack. Arrange one sheet at the bottom of the pan. Using a pastry brush, brush the fillo sheet with melted butter, first at the edges and then in the middle. Repeat until the bottom layer is 8 sheets thick, each brushed generously with butter. Spread 1/3 of the filling evenly over the top. Layer 4 more sheets, buttering each. Spread another 1/3 of the filling evenly on top. Layer 4 more sheets, buttering each. Spread the remaining 1/3 of the filling evenly. Layer up to 8 or more sheets of fillo, buttering each. This is your top layer. It can be as thick as you choose. Score the baklava into squares or diamonds. Dot any remaining butter evenly all over. Sprinkle a few drops of water over the top and place pan in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for about 1 hour until golden brown. Check at 40 minutes, but as long as 1 1/2 hours may be needed for fillo dough to be as golden brown as desired. In the meantime prepare the syrup.

Syrup:
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 9.88 oz jar Tassos Mountain Honey with Thyme (or 1 cup honey)
  • Cinnamon Stick
  • One lemon slice
Bring all ingredients to a boil in a large sauce pan. Allow to simmer for at least five minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and lemon slice and any foam that accumulates. As soon as you pull the baklava out of the oven, ladle the hot syrup evenly over the top. Allow the baklava to cool and absorb the syrup completely. It keeps at room temperature for up to 10 days in an air-tight container. Baklava may certainly be refrigerated, but the honey will crystallize and may alter the texture. 

Working with Fillo Dough: Remove fillo dough from freezer and leave overnight in refrigerator. At least two hours before preparation, leave the box on the kitchen counter to fully come to room temperature. Remove fillo dough from box and unroll carefully. Lay it flat on the counter top with its plastic membrane underneath and a dry and a wet tea towel on top to prevent the dough from drying out. If the top sheets are too wet, rotate to the bottom. It is important to work quickly at this point. You may rotate the stack a few more times as needed. Assemble as directed by recipe.


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