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Monday, April 2, 2012

Baklava Recipe


Due to my background of growing up in a multi-cultural town and the love of traveling, I always enjoy trying out recipes of different countries and/or regions.  In the process of preparing the dishes or deserts makes me understand more about the culture of each country.  Beside traveling, making food is a great way to learn more about other countries. 

My parents started taking us to travel when I was just a little kid.  We have been so many wonderful places (Greece, Turkey, Egypt, England, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Italy, Portugal, France, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, portion of Mainland China, and America [of course], etc) throughout the whole world.  I feel so lucky that I got to see so many different things (good and bad) in such a young age; it surely opened up my mind and sights to think outside the box and learnt the best from other countries. 

Just a few weeks ago, I had an itch of trying to make a famous and popular Mediterranean dessert - Balkava at home.  Believe it or not, this dessert is so easy to make and is additively delicious.


Recipe (adopted from All Recipe.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough (from the frozen section of the gocery store)
  • 1 pound chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds or pistachios)
  • 1 cup butter (melted)/PAM
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup honey

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(175 degrees C). Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9x13 inch pan.

2.  Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon. Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough. Cut whole stack in half to fit pan.  I used my new Ninja blender/juicer/food processor.  I will tell you more about how much I love about my Ninja blender later.  It is a great piece of tool to add to your kitchen=)


3.  Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work. Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle 2 - 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 6 - 8 sheets deep.




4.  Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. You may cut into 4 long rows the make diagonal cuts. Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.  (The blodded and colored note is very important!  Once you baked it, they are very hard to cut.  So DO remember to cut it before putting it in the oven.)


5.  Make sauce while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.



6.  Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let cool.
Pulling it out from the oven when they are golden brown.

Pour your honey sauce on it immediately
Serve in cupcake papers.  This freezes well.
 Leave it uncovered because it will get soggy if is wrapped up.



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