Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Recipe: Baklava

I traveled to Greece 10 years ago for an unforgettable trip.  I feasted on their amazing cuisine.  Make this dessert to get a taste of all the country has to offer.

On Capital Cooking's Greek Feast episode, we made a delicious Baklava.  I added a twist with Mextaca in the simple syrup.  Enjoy this tasty recipe!


For the baklava:

1 lb. of chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, or pistachios are best, or use a combination of them)
1 lb of phyllo dough
1 cup of butter, melted
1/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon of ground cloves

Lightly grease a 9x13 pan and set the oven to 350°F.
Thaw the phyllo dough according to manufacturer's directions. When thawed, roll out the dough and cut the dough in half so the sheets will fit in the pan. Cover with a damp towel to keep it from drying out.
Process the nuts until in small, even sized pieces. Combine with sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. In a separate bowl, melt the butter in the microwave or over the stove.

Place a sheet of phyllo dough into the pan. Using a pastry brush, brush the phyllo sheet with melted butter. Repeat 7 more times until it is 8 sheets thick, each sheet being "painted" with the butter. Spoon on a thin layer of the nut mixture. Cover with two more sheets of phyllo, brushing each one with butter. Continue to repeat the nut mixture and two buttered sheets of phyllo until the nut mixture is all used up. The top layer should be 8 phyllo sheets thick, each sheet being individually buttered. 

*Do not worry if the sheets crinkle up a bit, it will just add more texture. 

Cut into 24 equal sized squares using a sharp knife. Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden brown, and edges appear slightly crisp.

For the syrup:
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of honey
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons of Mextaca (Greek Brandy)

While baking, make the syrup. Combine the cinnamon stick, sugar, honey, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium low heat and let simmer for 7 minutes and slightly thickened. Remove the cinnamon stick and allow to cool. Add in the Mextaca. (optional)

Spoon the cooled syrup over the hot baklava and let cool for at least 4 hours. 

Photos by Emily Clack

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