Tuesday, September 6, 2011
I told you all last week how much I love eating Middle Eastern food. It's true! La Sheesh in Ann Arbor is on my Top 5 favorite restaurant list. After eating a huge, delicious meal from there, I always make sure to leave a little room in my stomach for Baklava. You always have room for a little dessert, right? Baklava is a sweet, crunchy pastry with tons of layers and it always leaves your fingers sticky from the sugary, honey sauce that is poured over it after baking. It's the best way to end a meal. So like always, I wanted to learn how to make it on my own!
My best tip for you is not to rush the thawing process of the Fillo dough (like I did)! Allow yourself a day or two to allow it to thaw in your refrigerator. Mine was still partially frozen but I wanted to make Baklava NOW! The Fillo dough is so thin and so delicate that it started breaking apart in the spots where it was still frozen. It still turned out great but it would have been a lot easier to work with if I had allowed it to thaw properly.
Here is a picture to demonstrate how to cut it. Only half of the 9 x 13 inch pan is shown in the picture so there were 16 pieces in all.
Source: Mrs. Pizza Head
1 box Fillo sheets (16 oz.)
10 oz Chopped Pecans (mixed with 1 T. cinnamon)
2 sticks butter, melted
1 1/4 c. water
1 1/4 c. white sugar
3/4 c. honey
2 T. vanilla
Melt the butter. In a separate bowl, mix cinnamon into the pecans. Unroll the thawed Fillo (Phyllo) Dough. When you unroll it and begin to work with it, cover it in a damp towel so it doesn't dry out. Once it dries out it starts to crack when you work with it. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.
Begin by putting down 4 sheets of fillo dough and painting butter on it...not too much butter, just enough to wet it. Do the same with the next 4 sheets...butter...then layer with 2 sheets. Butter the 2 sheets then sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of nuts on it. Repeat, until you only have 8 sheets left, and no more nuts. Once you have 8 sheets left, you are going back to layering 4, buttering, 4 more, and more butter. Make sure the top layer is pretty wet because when you begin to cut it seems to dry out pretty fast.
Now you begin the cutting. Use a serrated or very sharp knife and do not cut all the way through down to the bottom of the pan. (This will help keep all the sauce from sinking to the bottom of the pan later.)
Put in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. When that is in the oven, you will start the sauce. Boil water, honey, sugar, and vanilla on the stove. After it boils bring it to a simmer for 20 minutes. As soon as you remove the Baklava from the oven pour the sauce over it.