Monday, June 27, 2011


Blog-checking lines: Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.

I must confess that the thought of making my own phyllo dough was a bit terrifying.  The dough just seemed so fragile and looked like it would be quite complicated so why bother when it was available at the grocery store? While there are numerous steps to the process, though dough itself was easily conquered.  Sure the stuff at the store is convenient, but if you are looking to all out impress someone with your culinary talents, by all means give the home made dough a try!

Phyllo Dough: 
*Note 1: To have enough to fill my 9” x 9” baking dish with 18 layers of phyllo I doubled this recipe. 
*Note 2: Single recipe will fill a 8” x 5” baking dish.  
Note 3: Dough can be made a head of time and froze. Just remove from freezer and allow to thaw and continue making your baklava

1 1/3 cups (320 ml) (185 gm/6½ oz) unbleached all purpose (plain) flour
1/8 teaspoon (2/3 ml) (¾ gm) salt
1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) cider vinegar, (could substitute white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar but could affect the taste)
1. In the bowl of your stand mixer combine flour and salt
2. Mix with paddle attachment
3. Combine water, oil and vinegar in a small bowl. 
Rolling your Phyllo  
* Remove all rings and jewelry so it does not snag the dough**
Use whatever means you have to get the dough as thin as you can. I used a 3/4 inch pvc pipe which I cut down to a good rolling size.  You may also use a pasta machine if you have one, or a normal rolling pin whatever works for you. 
1. Unwrap your dough and cut off a chunk slightly larger then a golf ball. While you are rolling be sure to keep the other dough covered so it doesn’t dry out.

2. Be sure to flour your hands, rolling pin and counter. As you roll you will need to keep adding, don’t worry, you can’t over-flour.
3. Roll out the dough a bit to flatten it out..

4.Wrap the dough around your rolling pin/dowel

5. Roll back and forth quickly with the dough remaining on the dowel
6. Remove; notice how much bigger it is

7. Rotate and repeat until it is as thin as you can it. Don’t worry if you get rips in the dough, as long as you have one perfect one for the top you will never notice.
8. When you get it as thin as you can with the rolling pin, carefully pick it up with well floured hands and stretch it on the backs of your hands as you would a pizza dough, just helps make it that much thinner. Roll out your dough until it is transparent. NOTE: you will not get it as thin as the frozen phyllo dough you purchase at the store, it is made by machine. Set aside on a well-floured surface. Repeat the process until your dough is used up. Between each sheet again flower well. You will not need to cover your dough with a wet cloth, as you do with boxed dough, it is moist enough that it will not try out.
Baklava Recipe  
Adapted from Alton Brown, The Food Network
30 servings
For the Syrup
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) honey
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) water
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) (280 gm/10 oz) sugar  
1 cinnamon stick 
1 piece fresh citrus peel (lemon or orange works best
a few cloves or a pinch of ground cloves 
When you put your baklava in the oven start making your syrup. When you combine the two, one of them needs to be hot, I find it better when the baklava is hot and the syrup has cooled 

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium pot over medium high heat. I did not leave my citrus peel whole, I zested it and used it that way.  Stir occasionally until sugar has dissolved
2. Boil for 10 minutes, stir occasionally.                                                                
3. Once boiled for 10 minutes remove from heat and strain cinnamon stick and lemon, allow to cool as baklava cooks

Ingredients for the Filling:

1 (5-inch/125 mm piece) cinnamon stick, broken into 2 to 3 pieces or 2 teaspoons (10 ml) (8 gm) ground cinnamon
15 to 20 whole allspice berries ( I just used a few pinches)
3/4 cup (180 ml) (170 gm/6 oz) blanched almonds
3/4 cup (180 ml) (155 gm/5½ oz) raw or roasted walnuts
3/4 cup (180 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) raw or roasted pistachios
2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm/ 5 1/3 oz) sugar
phyllo dough (see recipe above)
1 cup (2 sticks) (240 ml) (225g/8 oz) melted butter ** I did not need this much, less then half**

1.Preheat oven to moderate 350 F/180 C/gas mark 4.
2. Combine nuts,sugar, spices in a food processor and pulse on high until finely chopped. If you do not have a food processor you may chop the nuts with a knife, but it would be best to use ground cinnamon and ground allspice. Set Aside.
 3. Trim you phyllo sheets to fit in  your pan. 
4. Brush bottom of pan with butter and place first phyllo sheet
5. Brush the first phyllo sheet with butter and repeat approximately 5 times ending with butter. (Most recipes say more, but homemade phyllo is thicker so it's not needed)                           

6. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top.                                                                     7. Continue Layering phyllo dough and buttering, repeating process 4 times.                     8. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top.     
9. Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 4 times10. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
11. Continue layering and buttering phyllo 5 more times. On the top layer, make sure you have a piece of phyllo with no holes if possible, just looks better.
12. Once you have applied the top layer tuck in all the edges to give a nice appearanc
13. With a Sharp knife cut your baklava in desired shapes and number of pieces. If you can't cut all the ways through don’t worry you will cut again later. A 9x9 pan cuts nicely into 30 pieces. Then brush with a generous layer of butter making sure to cover every area and edge

14. Bake for approximately 30 minutes; remove from oven and cut again this time all the way through. Continue baking for another 30 minutes. (Oven temperatures will vary, you are looking for the top to be a golden brown, take close watch yours may need more or less time in the oven)
15. When baklava is cooked remove from oven and pour the cooled (will still be warmish) syrup evenly over the top, taking care to cover all surfaces when pouring. It looks like it is a lot but over night the syrup will soak into the baklava creating a beautifully sweet and wonderfully textured baklava

Next morning all syrup is absorbed
16. Allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled cover and store at room temperature. Allow the baklava to sit overnight to absorb the syrup.
17. Serve at room temperature
Freezing/Storage Instructions/Tips: There are a few ways to store your Baklava. It is recommended that you store your baklava at room temperature in an airtight container. Stored at room temperature your baklava will last for up to 2 weeks. You will notice as the days pass it will get a little juicier and chewier. You may choose to store it in the fridge; this will make it a little harder and chewy, but does increase the shelf life. You can also freeze your baklava and then just set it out at room temperature to thaw.

No comments:

Post a Comment