Saturday, April 09, 2011

A Taste of Turkey -- Easy Baklava Recipe

I'm still working out the kinks on my versions of the different foods and dishes I tasted in Istanbul, Cappadocia, Esphesus and elsewhere in Turkey.

In the meantime, here is the baklava recipe I usually use.  It is adapted from Paula Shoyer's excellent The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Diary-Free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy. (Brandeis University Press) Her version is vegan, has more filling and is not as sweet as many others I’ve tried. Turkish versions would omit the orange blossom water, but for other cultures it is traditional and it gives the pastry a floral essence.

I first wrote up this recipe for my friend Anna Mindess' wonderful blog, East Bay Ethnic Eats, for her post on handmade filo (phyllo) dough.

Layered Baklava with Orange Blossom Syrup
Serves 20

The mix of nuts gives the baklava a very complex taste. This recipe is adapted from Shoyer’s book. This recipe is written for defrosted, commercial filo dough. It is even more spectacular made with fresh. If you’d like, brush canola oil on the filo dough layers rather than spraying them with the spray oil as Shoyer does.

1 2/3 cups shelled, unsalted pistachios
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup walnut pieces
2 ¼ cups of sugar, divided
Canola oil spray
1 package frozen filo dough, thawed according to package directions
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup water
2 tsp. orange blossom water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put pistachios, almonds, walnuts and ¼ cup of sugar in food processor with metal blade. Process until ground into tiny pieces but not pulverized.

Grease a 9”x13” pan with spray oil. Cut sheets of filo to size if necessary. Lay 1 sheet in pan, spray with oil. Repeat 4 times until you have a stack of 5 sheets. Scatter ¾ cup of the nuts mixture evenly on top. Repeat until you have 5 filo layers of 5 sheets each and 4 nut layers. Finish with the filo on top. Spray the top sheet heavily with oil.

With a sharp knife, make diagonal cut through all the layers across the pan, about 1 ½” apart. Then make diagonal cuts in the other direction. Place on middle rack in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until lightly browned.  As it bakes, if it looks like the top sheet is drying out, spray again with oil.

While the baklava is baking, make the syrup. Place remaining sugar, lemon juice and water in a small pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Turn heat to low and simmer for 7 minutes. Take pan off heat, add orange blossom water and stir.

When the baklava is baked, remove from the oven and immediately pour the syrup over it. Let cool in the pan.

This recipe and information also appeared in the j. weekly in a review of the Shoyer book.  Additional recipes are included.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe, I am looking for an easy recipe and your site came up. I had tried baklava before as one of my Jordanian friend gave us a taste test of this wonderful sweet delicacy and we enjoyed it so much.

Rivki Locker said...

This is something I have always wanted to make. And it doesn't look too very complicated. I just may try it! Thanks for sharing!

FJKramer said...

Dear Angsarap and Rivki -- Thanks. This is really an easy version and very tasty. Hope you'll try it. Rachel -- I'm glad you liked Blog Appetit, I've worked hard on it for more than 5 years. I don't do link exchanges, but always welcome commenters to leave links to similar topics on their own blogs.

Cooking contests said...

I've always wanted to try to make baklava myself. Thanks for sharing this recipe - very helpful info!

Take care,
-- Chelsey