Food Story: Joanne & Baklava

It’s Food Story Friday & I have a great food story for you from Joanne at Apple Crumbles. I love reading her blog because she is a runner and a running coach so I get to live vicariously through her efforts and enjoy some great recipes. Tomorrow is National Baklava Day and Joanne has a great recipe to share with us … 

Baklava by Joanne from Apple Crumbles - Food Stories Blog Follow Me on Pinterest

Baklava, a flaky pastry filled with honey, nuts and spice, has been one of my favorite treats since I was 8 years old … When I was 8 years old, we lived in North Reading, Massachusetts. Our neighbor had a son and daughter closer to my sister’s age and they would very often hang out together. I wasn’t always welcome to join in with the older kids but I was always welcome in our neighbors home. Mrs. Frangos knew how I loved sweets. Her daughter would tell us when her mother made that delicious dessert we couldn’t get enough of called Baklava. We would only be allowed one piece but craved so much more. I remember how Mrs. Frangos cut the Baklava into small triangles and how the honey coated treat would be so sticky and get all over my lips and fingers. When we moved from North Reading, I never thought I’d ever taste Baklava again.

Baklava by Joanne from Apple Crumbles - Food Stories Blog Follow Me on Pinterest

Along came Ted. Ted and I went on our first date at the beginning of December, years ago. Our relationship was in it’s infancy when the holiday season rolled around and it was the first time my parents would meet my future husband. When Ted walked into our house his arms were filled with gifts and goodies, I couldn’t believe it as he set a tray of Baklava on the counter. I had DEFINITELY met my soul mate.

Baklava by Joanne from Apple Crumbles - Food Stories Blog

Now when you enjoy baking as much as I do, you can’t go very long without searching recipes to reveal your all time favorites. I’ve made many a baklava recipe by now but I’ve never made the Utica style Rolled Baklava. Here it is. You’re in for such a treat.

Posted by Jeanann Murphy

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely ground almonds (7 oz)
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely ground walnuts (7 oz)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 14 sheets fillo (phyllo) dough
  • 2 cups cool Honey Syrup (recipe below)
  • Preheat oven to 325 F.

Combine nuts and cinnamon in medium bowl. Set aside

Place a sheet of phyllo dough on flat work surface and brush with melted butter. Fold the long side in to form a 9 1/2 x 15 inch rectangle. Brush folded edges with butter. Place a 2nd piece of dough over the first and gather like a curtain to fit inside rectangle. Brush with butter.

Sprinkle 3 TBS of the nut mix over the bottom 1/3 of the phyllo rectangle. Fold dough over to cover nuts. Brush with butter. Spread 1/4 cup nuts in a 1 inch wide line parallel to, and about 1” from the edge of the pastry. Fold over once to cover nuts. Roll like a cigar almost to the end. Fold in ragged edges, brush them with butter. Finish rolling and fold ends under. Place seam side down in prepared pan. Brush with butter. Repeat with remaining dough and filling, laying each roll next to the other so they are touching. Cut rolls cross wise into 21 pieces total (drag knife through a second time to assure a clean cut).

Transfer to the oven and bake for 1 hour to 1 hr. 15 min. or until crust and nuts are golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Pour cooled honey syrup over pastry. The rolls will float. Allow the baklava to sit until liquid is absorbed and nuts are saturated. This takes about 30 minutes.

*Making rolled Baklava is a bit more difficult than simply forming triangles. If this is your first time making this honey coated dessert, I would suggest simply lining a prepared baking dish (with 2” sides, 9 x 13) with 1 phyllo sheet, brush on butter, another phyllo sheet, brush with butter and a third phyllo sheet and butter. Sprinkle on nuts. Repeat ending with 3 layers of phyllo dough on top. Then you simply cut into squares or triangles. Bake and coat with honey syrup as described in the rest of the rolled recipe.

 

Baklava by Joanne from Apple Crumbles - Food Stories Blog

Honey Syrup (3 cups)

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice plus zest from 1/2 of the lemon
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 TBS honey

Combine sugar with 2 cups water in a small pan. Stir to dissolve. Add lemon juice, zest, cinnamon to pan. Place over medium high heat and cook to 221 – 225 degrees on a candy thermometer. Add honey and stir to combine.

Lick your lips, lick your fingers, then grab another. What the hey! You only live once…or maybe not depending on your beliefs.

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What do you think?

  1. Joanne I love your blog and it’s nice to see your story here. I can imagine you savoring each precious piece of baklava at your friend’s house. Back when we were kids, food in the US was not as international as it is now and I can see why you thought you would never have baklava again. How perfect that it came back into your life along with Ted, soulmate indeed!
    Mary recently posted … Mother’s Day Picnic Salad with Edible FlowersMy Profile

  2. Baklava has such a great flavor. I’ve never made it, though, and I don’t know why not. It’s a bit fiddly, but pretty straightforward. This looks great – I’m longing to get that sticky sweetness all over myself as I eat more baklava than is good for me (I can never have just one piece, although it’s so rich I don’t know how I can possibly eat more than one). Thanks for this.
    john recently posted … Roast Brussels SproutsMy Profile

  3. Oh, YUM! I love baklava, but i have never even thought of making it at home. This version looks just wonderful!
    amy recently posted … Homemade Cheez-ItsMy Profile

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