Wednesday, April 25, 2012

BAKE 52: Week 17


I'm excited to host again and this time I choose a recipe that's about as opposite as light baking as you can get!  But, first, here's the scoop on me.
I was born in Utah, grew up in Utah, and now I'm growing my own family in Utah.  I live in a fun little town called Eagle Mountain where neighbors get together for potlucks and kids play outside till dusk.  A girl (12 ) and three boys (10, 5, and 3) call me Mom, and my best friend calls me Wife (Ahh, I know, but it's true!).  I'm the type that loves to start projects but rarely finishes them.  I love to be outside, I like trying different exercise programs, and reading is a must.
I dabble a bit in writing children's literature, bake cookies on rainy days, and nap whenever I can.  My wonderful friend, Michelle, who lives just a few houses away, invited me to be in this baking group and I'm so glad she did!  I love trying all these new recipes and I'm learning so much!
And now for the good stuff!  Baklava.  It's another fun word to say (like Babka).  It's a Greek pastry and the last time I had it I was in labor with my oldest boy, who will be 11 this summer.  WAY past time to have it again!  It was even better than I remembered and the funny thing is, I'm not a nut fan but this is loaded with walnuts and almonds.  It's nutty and buttery and syrupy and flaky.  And yummy.  I ate it for dinner.  And dessert.  Here's the recipe (page 435 from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book):


Sugar Syrup

1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup honey
1 (4-inch) strip fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
5 whole cloves
18/ teaspoon salt

Nut Filling

2 cups (8 ounces) blanched slivered almonds
1 cup (4 ounces) walnuts
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt


3 sticks unsalted butter, clarified
30 (14 by 9-inch) sheets phyllo dough, thawed

1. For the sugar syrup:  

Bring all of the syrup ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.  Transfer the syrup to a small liquid measuring cup and let cool; when cool, discard the spices and zest. 

2. For the nut filling:

Pulse the almonds and walnuts together in a food processor until very finely chopped, about 25 pulses.  Measure out and reserve 1 tablespoon of the ground nuts for garnish.  Toss the remaining ground nuts with the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt (you should have about 3 cups).

3.  For the pastry:

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees.  Brush a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with clarified butter.

4.  Place 1 sheet of phyllo in the bottom of the prepared pan and brush with the clarified butter until completely coated.  Layer 7 more sheets of phyllo into the pan, brushing each sheet with more butter.  Sprinkle 1 cup of the nut filling evenly into the pan.

5.  Layer 6 more sheets of phyllo into the pan, brushing each layer with more butter, then sprinkle with 1 cup more nut filling.  Repeat with 6 more sheets of phyllo, more butter, and the remaining cup of nut filling.

6.  Layer the remaining 10 sheets of phyllo into the pan, brushing each layer, except the final layer, with more butter.  Working from the center outward, use the palms of your hands to compress the layers and press out any air pockets.  Spoon 4 tablespoons of the butter on the top layer and brush to cover the surface.

7.  Use a serrated knife with a pointed tip to cut the baklava into diamonds.  Bake the baklava until golden and crisp, about 1 1/2 hours, rotating the baking pan halfway through baking.

8.  Immediately pour all but 2 tablespoons of the cooled syrup over the cut lines (the syrup will sizzle when it hits the hot pan).  Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons syrup over the surface.  Garnish the center of each piece with a pinch of the reserved ground nuts.  Let the baklava cool completely in the pan, about 3 hours, then cover with foil and let sit at room temperature for about 8 hours before serving.


  1. Your post looks awesome! Great pick! I had mine pretty much for dinner & dessert as well...oh and breakfast this morning! So good!

  2. I am with Michelle, I had to send the rest to school with Tyler so I would stop eating it! Such a great pick and your baklava look perfect!