Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

I would like to wish all of my readers the very Merriest of Christmases and the Happiest of New Years! I really do love and appreciate each and every one of you. I thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to read my rambling, sometimes incoherent thoughts. Thank you for your encouragement and inspiration. Even though we have never met face-to-face, I feel a special bond towards y'all!

The recipe I am going to give you today may sound complicated, but it really is not. Again, this is one of those things I don't make often, and I usually make it at Easter instead of Christmas. No, I am not Greek, but I do love Greek food. Around here, you can buy pre-packaged baklava at Christmas time, but I think mine is much tastier and probably better for ya!(Not that baklava is a healthy choice but hey, this is my blog)

I got this recipe (which I have slightly modified) from the Joy of Cooking.


1 pound of phyllo sheets, thawed

Stir together in a bowl:
3 cups coarsely chopped nuts (I used a mixture of walnuts, pecans and almonds)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (I omitted this)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used more)

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter

Important: Stack phyllo between sheets of waxed paper and then cover the waxed paper with a damp kitchen towel.

Grease a 9 x 13 pan. Preheat oven to 325F. Place 2 sheets of phyllo in pan and brush top sheet with melted butter. Repeat twice, for a total of 6 sheets. Sprinkle with half the nut mixture. Stack another 6 sheets, 2 sheets at a time, brushing with butter each time. Sprinkle with the other half of the nut mixture. Cover with all remaining phyllo sheets, 2 sheets at a time, brushing with butter.

So basically - 2 phyllo sheets then butter, another 2 sheets then butter again, 2 more sheets and butter, nut mixture and then repeat with dough.

If there is any remaining butter, pour it over the top.

Using a sharp serrated knife, cut through all layers into 2 inch diamonds or squares. This is very important, because you cannot cut it after it is baked, it will shatter.

Bake for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 300F. Bake another 45-60 minutes.

During last 30 minutes of baking, combine in a saucepan:
1-1/3 cups sugar
1-1/3 cups water
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Zest of one orange, removed in large strips (I omitted this)

Bring above mixture to a gentle boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Strain the hot syrup and pour over baklava right after you pull it out of the oven. Let cool completely, at least 4 hours at room temperature before serving.

Now, the modification I made was . . . . Way back in the summer, I posted a Rose Petal Jam recipe I had made. Well, you can use rosewater (I was out) in the syrup, so I thought hmmmmmm . . . why not. So after the syrup was done simmering, I stirred in 3 good spoonfuls of rose petal jam. This made the prettiest rose-pink syrup ever! It is not a really pronounced taste, but just a little, almost indefinable perfume. I also halved the recipe and used a smaller, 11 x 7 pan.

(The pink things on top are the rose petals from my jam)

I am going to try some next time with orange blossom water. Then I will definitely use the orange zest and lemon zest.

I had to laugh, I had the dough covered and my son was watching me - he said "so, the dough is light sensitive or what?"


Cheryl said...

That looks delicious! I am too scared to make it tho! Merry Christmas I hope you have a wonderful time!

Simply Heart And Home said...

Thank you so much for visiting my blog. Very nice to meet you. I look forward to reading yours and becoming friends.



Storybook Woods said...

A very merry Christmas. Clarice

Marie said...

haha at your son! Light sensitive, lol. Your Baklava looks fabulous Raquel! Can you believe I have never made my own? I know, lazy sod that I am I buy it ready made. I can only imagine how much tastier the homemade stuff is! Love your variation!