Saturday, July 9, 2011

Daring bakers challenge june: baklava

I'm posting a bit late, but on time on the daring kitchen forum: the challenge from june: Bakalava. A good baklava is already a challenge, but Erika from Erika's challenge got even a greater challenge: we also had te prepare the phyllo sheets.
Untill this moment I didn't like baklava to much. It always tasted to sweet. But I've taken on the challenges on the daring bakers and if this is one of them I will make it. Because I have a lot of family members who likes sweet (above average) and we had a familyweekend in this challengeperiod I made it than.
I didn't have a lot of experience with baklava so I stick with the recipe as given, except for the walnuts. We have our own tree so there are some more in it than in the original.

And my conclusion after I made the challenge: it was delicious. Not to sweet and the nuts added a great flavour. My niece took the few pieces to her home to enjoy it furthermore.
So thank you Erika for the great recipe.

Baklava (9 x 9 inch baking form (23 x 23 cm))

Pyllo dough
  • 2 2/3 cups (370 gram) all purpose flour;
  • 1/4 tesapoon salt;
  • 1 cup water (240 mL);
  • 4 tablespoon vegetable oil;
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar.
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 mL) honey;
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 mL) water;
  • 1 1/4 cups (280 gram) sugar;
  • 1 cinnamon stick;
  • 1 (2-inch / 5 cm) piece fresh lemon peel;
  • a few cloves 

  • 1 cup (200 gram) walnuts;
  • 3/4 cup (170 gram) blanched almonds;
  • 1/2 cup (70 gram) pistachios;
  • 1 cinnamon stick broken in three pieces;
  • 1 teasp0oon allspice;
  • 2/3 cup (150 gram sugar);
  • 120 gram melted butter.


Phyllo dough

In the bowl of your stand mixer (or if you don't have one in a bowl) combine flour and salt. Mix.
In another small bowl mix water, oil and vinegar. Add water and oil mixture and mix with the (hand)mixer on low speed, dough hook attached). Mix until you get a soft dough, if it is to drough add a little more water.
Knead for about 10 minutes untill the dough is mooth. If you are kneading by hand, knead approximately 20 minutes.
Remove the dough from the bowl and coninue to knead for 2 more minutes. Pick up and throw down hard on the counter a few times during the kneading process.
Shape the dough into a ball and lightly cover with oil. Wrap tightley in plastic wrap and let rest for 30-90 minutes, longer is best.

Remove all rings and jewelry on your hands so it doesn't snag the dough.

Unwrap your dough and cut off a chunk slightly larger than a golf ball. While you are rolling make sure the other dough is covered so it doesn't dry our. 
Be sure to flour your hands, rolling pin and counter. As you roll you will need to add flour. You can't over-flour. Roll out the dough a bit to flatten it out. Wrap the dough aroudn your rolling pin / dowel. 
Roll back and forth quickly wit the dough remaining on the dowel. Remove see how much bigger it is.
Rotate and repeat until it is as thin as you can it. Don't worry if you get rips. If you have one perfect one for the top you will never notice. When you get it as thin as you can with the rolling pin, carefully pick it up with the pin and stretch it on the backs of your hands as you would a pizza dough, just helps making it that much thinner. Roll out your dough until it is transparant. Note: you will not get a phyllo dough as thin as you can 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 flouwer well. you will not need to cover your dough wit a wet cover as you do with boxed dough, it is moist enough that it will not try out.


When you put your baklava in the ove3n start making your syrup. when you combine the syrup with the baklava one of the two should be hot.

Combine all ingredients in a medium pot over medium heat. Stir occasionally untill the sugar is dissolved. Boil for 10 minutes, stir occasionally. Once boiled for 10 minutes remove from heat and strain cinnamon stick and lemon, allow to cool as the baklava cooks.


Preheat the oven to moderate 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Combine nuts, sugar and spices in a food processor and pulse on high until fine and smooth. If you don't have a food processor chop with a sharp knife as fine as you can. Set aside. Trim your phyllo sheets to fit in your pan. Brush bottom of pan with butter and place first phyllo sheet. Brush the first phyllo sheet with butter and repeat 5 times. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top. Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 3 times. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top. Conintue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 4 times and sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top. Continue layering and buttering phyllo 5 more times. When you have applied the top layer tuck in all the edges to give a nice appearance. With a sharp knife cut your baklava in desired shapes and number of pieces. Brush with a generous layer of butter, making sure to cover every area and edge. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, remove from oven and cut again this tima all the way through. Continue baking for another 30 mnutes, until the top is golden brown. 
Remove from the oven and pour the cooled syrup evenly over the top, taking care to cover all surfaces when pouring. It is a lot but over night the syrup will soak into the baklava creating a beautifully sweet and wonderfully textured baklava. Let it stand over night untill next morning and all syrup is absorbed. Allow to cool to roomtemperatur. Serve.