Baklava (V)

Ingredients

Syrup

  • About 1 3/4 cup sugar – white, brown, evaporated cane sugar, or any other.
  • 200 ml (about 1 cup) water
  • 1 T flavouring – almond extract, rose water, and vanilla all work but anything is good
  • 1 – 2 T lemon juice

Filling

  • 1 – 2 cups nuts – pistachios, walnuts, almonds, anything works
  • Spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, or any favorite aromatic spices

Dough

  • 1 package phyllo dough – this is sort of cheating but you can make your own as well
  • About 1 1/2 cups melted butter, vegan butter, or coconut oil

Special tools

  • Small saucepan
  • Food processer, blender, coffee bean grinder, or sharp knife and cutting board for nuts
  • Two or three tea towels
  • Pastry brush
  • Parchment paper, plastic wrap, or a large silicone mat
  • 1 – 2 large baking dishes with about 5 – 10 cm deep

Baking directions:

Bake at 350f for 30 – 35 minutes

Steps:

Syrup:

  1. In a small saucepan, mix the sugar of choice and the water.
  2. Boil on medium heat, stirring about every 30 seconds to make sure the sugar does not burn.
  3. Once at a boil, continue to cook for 3 – 4 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and add lemon and flavourings.
  5. Cook for another 5 or 6 minutes.
  6. Set aside to cool. If making ahead, cool completely then put in the fridge.

Filling:

  1. Chop nuts using a food processer, blender, coffee grinder, or knife and cutting board. Chop all walnuts so they are considerably smaller but still have some large chunks these will be the filling. Remove about 60g (1/2 cup) and chop even more to create a quite fine texture without becoming a paste for the topping.
  2. Collect aromatics and spices of choice.

Construction:

Around this time it is a good idea to preheat your oven.

  1. Unroll your phyllo dough. If it was in the freezer, have it sit out on the counter for at least 2 – 3 hours before you plan to use.
  2. Place all sheets on a clean workspace and cover with a tea towel. I like a really large silicone mat but parchment or plastic wrap works too.
  3. Take the top sheet and move it over next to the stack or where ever you want to be working.
  4. Brush the top of the sheet with butter, vegan butter, or coconut oil using a pastry brush. Make sure that the whole sheet is covered.
  5. Put a second sheet of dough on top of the buttered layer.
  6. Brush with butter, coconut oil, or vegan butter again.
  7. Continue repeating steps 3 & 4 until you have 3 or 4 layers of phyllo dough covered in butter. It doesn’t matter if it is 3 or 4 layers but different brands have different amounts of sheets in one package.
  8. Once you have the 3rd or 4th layer covered with butter, coconut oil, or vegan butter, sprinkle with some of the nuts that you chopped for the filling. sprinkle on spices of choice.
  9. You can either roll up the layers the long way now to make a longer roll or you can cut it in half the long way and then roll it up to make two shorter rolls. It depends on what pan or pans you are using.
  10. Cover the pan while you are working on the next roll. The sheets will dry out and not be as crispy and flavourful.
  11. Continue repeating steps 3 – 10 until you have used up all of the phyllo dough sheets, nuts, and spices of choice.
  12. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes at 170 C or 350 F.
  13. Immediately after taking out of the oven, pour cooled syrup onto the hot pastry. This creates the crispy texture.
  14. Let sit on the countertop for at least 1 hour for the syrup to soak in.
  15. Cut into squares or diamonds and serve or cover and store in the fridge.

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