This is one of those things that impresses people, but in actuality is very easy. No matter how you spell it, Phyllo, filo, fillo dough is a fun thing to bake with. It is wonderfully crispy and light. It can be used in sweet and savory dishes and you can buy it frozen, so that makes life easier.
We planned a Greek dinner with friends, so I decided to bring baklava. I have made it once before with great results. I used all kinds of nuts the last time; almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts and I think I even used pecans. This time I decided to use just almonds and pistachios. I coarsely chopped them, maybe too coarsely. I would chop them into smaller pieces next time. This recipe mixes the cinnamon with the nuts.
Using phyllo dough is not hard. However, you MUST cover the dough with a damp towel while working with it. Take off the sheets you need, then cover it back up or it will dry out and break when you try to use it. Now, phyllo dough is pretty healthy. When you smother it in melted butter…well, then it becomes less healthy but significantly more delicious. Do you like my pastry brush sans handle? Nice, I know.
Cutting the baklava into diamonds before baking was hard. The dough was sticking to my knife a bit, and I kept pulling the top layer of phyllo out of place. I somehow managed to finish that step without pulling my hair out.
While the baklava bakes you are supposed to make the sugar and honey syrup. Right when the baklava is done baking you should be ready with the syrup. This helps to adhere all the layers. I was a little late in finishing the syrup. The baklava had to sit for about 10 minutes before I poured on the syrup, so I think that might have been why it wasn’t as cohesive. It still tasted delicious, so I’m not too bummed about it.
I got this recipe from allrecipes. Baklava
I made half of the recipe below since there would only be 5 dinner guests. I used an 8×8 pan and baked it for only about 40 minutes.
1 (16 ounce) package phyllo
1 pound chopped nuts
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey
|1.||Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(175 degrees C). Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9×13 inch pan.|
|2.||Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon. Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough. Cut whole stack in half to fit pan. 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.|
|3.||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.|
|4.||Make sauce while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.|
|5.||Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let cool. Serve in cupcake papers. This freezes well. Leave it uncovered as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up.|