Monday, June 2, 2008

Maple Baklava

I woke up at 4:30 in the morning for no good reason. Well maybe because I went to bed at 7PM but I've slept for longer than that before. Anyway, so I got up at 4:30 I think because I had to pee though I can't remember now. I downed a few glasses of water because I was really thirsty, maybe that's why I woke up in the first place and then I couldn't decide what to do.

Well, I couldn't make the Parmesan chicken because I hadn't gotten the chicken and it didn't seem quite right at 5AM. I couldn't make the Pasta, Pesto and Peas because I hadn't gotten the spinach and I forget what else yet. I didn't want to make burgers because it was too early. I thought about making the cake or the frosting that I was planning on making for Wednesday but I think it's too early. I'll wait until Tuesday, at least for the frosting so I don't have to wait for it to sit out and soften up and run into the issues I ran into with the opera cake.

That's when I thought of the baklava. The phyllo dough was in the freezer and I'd gotten walnuts the day before so I was all set. I've been wanting to make baklava for a while now. It's so yummy and flaky and sweet and all sorts of good. I had saved a few recipes because I wasn't sure which I wanted to go with for it. Apparently it's incredibly simple too! So at 6AM on Sunday I started to make baklava. It's better than something that requires the mixer on high or the food processor when it's warm enough for me (and all the other people in my building) to have the windows open but no A/C yet.

I used walnuts. I think pistachios are more traditional but I had walnuts. You could use anything you want to really.

A box of phyllo dough comes with 2 packs in it, each with 24 sheets, which is perfect so you can make this twice. I think my next thing will be spanokopita, which is just like this except instead of the nuts mix and syrup, you fill it with spinach and cheese. This is so easy and cuts so cleanly I am excited.

Maple Baklava
(based off this recipe from Slashfood)

1 pack of phyllo dough (half of a box)
4 cups chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 stick butter

1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 F.
Melt the butter in a bowl. This will be used for brushing the phyllo dough.
Mix the nuts, sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside.
Brush a 9x13 pyrex baking pan with butter.
Keep the phyllo dough covered with a damp paper towel while you are working so they don't dry out. Don't put anything on top of the paper towel or else it will stick to the phyllo dough.
Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough down and brush with butter. Repeat 7 more times for 8 sheets.
Pour half of the nut mix on and spread evenly.
Put down a sheet of phyllo dough and brush with butter. Repeat 7 more times.
Put the rest of the nuts on top.
Put down a sheet of phyllo dough and brush with butter. Repeat 7 more times.
Cut it into diamond shapes if you want, or whatever shape you want it to be when you serve it. The phyllo gets really crisp so you have to cut it now or it'll fall apart if you try to after you bake it.
Put the pan in the oven and bake for 30 mins.
Reduce heat to 300 and bake for another 20-30 mins.

Heat the maple syrup, honey, lemon juice and cinnamon in a bowl for about a minute in the microwave until everything loosens up and mix well.
Pour over the hot pan from the oven.
Allow to cool (at least a little) before eating.

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