Some people worship Jesus Christ, others Buddha or Mohammed. me? I worship Baklava. It’s a religion that pays off nicely. Oh sure, it doesn’t explain the injustices in the world, nor does it provide any moral compass. But you know what? It doesn’t matter because your eating Baklava.
Bakalava has been around for ages. Around 800 BC, it is told that the Assyrians had a dish that put together a few layers of thin bread dough, added chopped nuts in between, placed some honey on top and baked it in their primitive wood burning ovens. That makes Baklava older than the Roman Empire and is a testament to just how enjoyable this dish can be.
Being that the recipe is so old, you can imagine that there are hundreds of recipes out there. Let me re-assure you. There are. Some have cloves, other cardamon. Some use wlanuts, others use almonds. As with many recipes, there is no one way to make baklava…aside from phyllo dough with a nut mixture in between layers, covered in a sweetening agent of some sort.
The Following recipe does not have honey, and is instead made with a rose-water simple syrup, giving the bakalva an air of other worldiness. Actually, with the Rose water and cardamom, this recipe is more of an Arab version than Greek or Turkish.
All praise Baklava, amen!
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 cup bakers sugar (granulated will also work)
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) rosewater
- 3/4 cup blanched almonds, ground
- 3/4 cup shelled pistachios, ground
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 lb unsalted butter
- 1/2 lb of phyllo dough (1/2 package)
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
In a sauce pan, heat the 1 cup of water. As the water starts to boil, stir in the sugar and allow to dissolve. Take off the heat. Stir in the rose water and set aside for later use. I kept it over low heat while working on the rest of the recipe.
Finely ground the almonds and pistachios together in a food processor.Pour into a medium size mixing bowl and add the powdered sugar and ground cardomom. Mix well.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small dish. Remove any foam that may appear on the top of the melted butter. This will help ensure you have clarified butter.
Get out the phyllo dough and carefully seperate it into layers. Each sheet used should fit into a 13″ by 8″ space.
Grease and flour a 13″ baking dish. Place 3-4 layers of phyllo dough on the bottom of the pan. Paint the dough with butter, using a pastry brush. Top the layers with 4-5 tablespoons of the nut mixture. Top again with 3-4 layers of phyllo dough. Repeat the butter, nut mixture, dough process until the nut mixture is used entirely. End with 4-5 layers of phyllo dough on top. Slice the baklava into squares or diamonds. Top with the remaining butter and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is a crispy golden brown.
Pour syrup over top and garnish with whole pistachios and powdered sugar.
(SIDE NOTE: If you want a larger baklava, simply double the size of the nut mixture, and count on using almost an entire package of phyllo dough)