Baklava - Fearless In The Kitchen - The Frazzled Pan - Cooking for Real Blog at - 109987

The Frazzled Pan - Cooking for Real

Baklava - Fearless in the Kitchen 
Jun. 26, 2009 7:07 am 
Updated: Aug. 11, 2009 9:50 am
Megan was at it again. She loves to give her homemade creations as gifts, and this time she was gearing up for Father’s Day. Dad deserved something special. She took her time deciding on a recipe, and settled on..…..baklava!
Baklava is surprisingly easy to make. Layer thin sheets of phyllo dough with melted butter, walnuts, cinnamon and sugar; cut it into diamonds and bake. While the pastry is in the oven, make a simple syrup of honey, water, and lemon. When the baklava is baked, crispy, and golden brown, pour the syrup over the top. That’s it! As the pastry cools, it soaks in the sweet honey syrup and develops that rich and sticky bottom layer (my favorite part). 
Meg worked carefully; layering her dough and walnuts, brushing with butter, and baking to a golden brown.  She was a little worried about pouring the hot syrup over the beautifully browned pastry…but did it anyway. Her finished baklava was beautiful, crispy, sweet, and sticky. Just wonderful! Her dad just loved his father’s day gift, and Megan, once again, was beaming with self pride. 
Well,  Meg has proven that she has truly become confident in the kitchen. Actually, she’s not just confident – she’s fearless! Any other fearless kid chef’s out there?
Serves 18

½ cup melted butter
2 cups finely chopped pistachios, walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Lb. package phyllo dough
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush melted butter over the bottoms and sides of a 9" X 13" pan
Toss chopped nuts with cinnamon. Set aside.
Unroll phyllo dough and cut the stack in half to fit the pan, if necessary.**** Place 2 sheets of dough in pan and generously brush with butter. Repeat with 3 additional layers of dough.

Sprinkle ¼ cup of nut mixture on top of the fourth layer, top with 2 sheets of dough, brush with butter. Repeat 5-6 times. 

Place 2 sheets of dough on top of the final nut layer and brush with butter.

Repeat 2 times for a total of 6 layers of phyllo on the top.

Using a sharp knife, cut baklava into diamonds, making sure to cut all the way to the bottom of the pan. Just before baking, lightly sprinkle the top of the pastry with cold water. This inhibits the pastry from curling.
Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake until golden brown, about 15 additional minutes.
While baklava is baking, boil water and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add vanilla, honey and lemon juice. Simmer for 20 minutes.
As soon as baklava is finished baking, pour sauce evenly over it. Allow to cool at room temperature.

Store at room temperature lightly covered for up to 5 days or freeze, airtight, for longer storage.

****Phyllo dough dries out easily. While working with it, keep covered with plastic wrap and topped with a damp cloth.
Keep the phyllo dough from drying out under plastic wrap and a damp towel.
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Pouring the syrup over the baked pastry.
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Ready to serve!
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Jun. 26, 2009 8:17 am
Mmm I love phyllo, but I rarely make it because it makes a huge batch all at once. I've tried freezing it but it didn't keep that well. :( Megan's looks great!
Jun. 26, 2009 8:17 am
*I meant to say that I rarely make baklava, not that I rarely make phyllo! Duh!
Jun. 26, 2009 8:27 am
Hi DL, I'll pass your comments on to Meg:).Did you know that thawed phyllo keeps in the refrigerator for 2 weeks if very well wrapped? Use a small pan, make a half batch of baklava, and use the rest of the phyllo to make savory hand pies or fruit filled pastries -- yum!
Jun. 29, 2009 10:07 am
way to go meg!! I wish i were your dad...i love baklava!! you should be proud of yourself, sounds like you know your way around the kitchen. it looks like i could eat it right off the screen!!! yummmmmmm!
Jun. 30, 2009 8:01 am
Great job Megan! My own little sous chef is only 5, but well on her way to following in Meg's footsteps; she loves to help me in the kitchen.
Jun. 30, 2009 4:35 pm
Congatulations Megan. I am really proud of you. I really don't think I could make baklava or have the nerve to try. Wish I was there to try some, I love it!! You really are becoming quite the pastry chef!!
Jul. 28, 2009 8:29 pm
I was reading through your blogs (I find them very entertaining!) and I just looked up and noticed that you're living in the town I was born in so I just figured I'd give a shout out :) My mother did try the making meals thing but it was never really enforced. I wish they had because as I got further and further into college I realized.. I'm going to be out in the real world and I can't even cook chicken. I've been getting better though!
Aug. 4, 2009 8:19 pm
Hi! I miss your posts, and hope everything is okay.
Aug. 11, 2009 9:50 am
Hi Autumn and Alyssa! Thanks for your comments! Autumn, Kirkland is still here and still beautiful:). Thanks for the shout out. Allrecipes is going to be at the Kirkland farmer's market next week! Isn't that cool? Alyssa, you're so sweet! I've been on a lengthy vacation but am back now and have a backlog of blog ideas to post:). I'll probably have a new one up this week.
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Home Town
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Living In
Kirkland, Washington, USA

Member Since
Aug. 2008

Cooking Level
Not Rated

Cooking Interests
Baking, Slow Cooking, Mexican, Indian, Italian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Healthy, Quick & Easy

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About Me
I recently returned to work full time and -- life's gotten pretty hectic. I have 2 really busy (and really hungry) teenage girls, a very active husband and an old yellow lab who really misses having me around the house. I love to cook and feel that sitting down to a meal with the family is really important. Unfortunately, I don't have the time or, frankly, the energy, to put a lot of work into meals every night. I'm determined to figure out how to get a delicious and healthy family dinner on the table with a minimum of fuss. As I figure it out, I'll post on my blog.
My favorite things to cook
I went to culinary school, taught cooking classes and read cookbooks for entertainment. Do we eat a gourmet meal every night? No way. Weeknight meals are quick and easy and, usually, nutritious. Weekends are when I have fun with my food. My weekend favorites: anything Greek, anything Italian, breads, soups and braises. I like trying new foods and techniques and love to have dinner parties.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Dolmathes (Greek rolled grape leaves) for birthdays, gnocci for Christmas Eve, pitzelle cookies with my Italian pitzelle iron, jack-o-lantern cake for Halloween and avgolemono soup for whoever is in need of comfort.
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