Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo, filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with rose syrup or honey. It is characteristic of the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire, but is also found in Central and Southwest Asia and in Europe. Although the history of baklava is not well documented, there is evidence that its current form was developed in the imperial kitchens of the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul based on a Central Asian Turkic tradition of layered breads.
At baking baklava is normally prepared in large pans. Many layers of phyllo dough, separated with melted butter, are laid in the pan. A layer of chopped nuts—typically walnuts or pistachios, but hazelnuts are also sometimes used or placed on top, then more layers of phyllo. Most recipes have multiple layers of phyllo and nuts, though some have only top and bottom pastry.
Before baking, the dough is cut into regular pieces, often parallelograms, triangles or rectangles. Syrup which may include honey, rosewater, or orange flower water is poured over the cooked baklava and allowed to soak in.
Baklava is usually served at room temperature, often garnished with ground nuts.
In Turkey, and Bulgaria baklava traditionally is made by filling between the layers of dough with pistachios, walnuts, almonds, hazelnut. In many parts of Turkey, baklava is often topped with kaymak or in the summer, ice cream (milk cream flavor).
My favorite that makes everyone think you are a master chef I didn’t know that it’s so easy to make! I taught a Turkish friend how to make the world famous Hungarian apple pie and she taught me this fabulous recipe. The phyllo dough is found in the freezer section of most grocery stores. I added a little lemon zest to the sugar sauce.
1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup butter
1 pound chopped nuts
1 cup water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup honey
for the almond cream:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(175 degrees C). Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9×13 inch pan.
- 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.
- 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.
- Make sauce while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
- 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.
- For the cream you need: 3 gelatine leaves
- 80 gr marzipan massa
- 125 ml almond milk
- 2 tbs sugar
- 1 vanilla sugar
- 200 ml cream
- 1-2 cl Amaretto liquer
- Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water. Tear the marzipan massa into small pieces. Add sugar. Squeeze gelatin leaves and add to almond milk, heat it and cook until gelatin is dissolved. Add marzipan to it. Put it in the fridge and wait until it is solid or firm. Whisk cream with the Amaretto. When the almond cream is firm enough add to the whisked cream, fold it until homogen. Before serving the baklava cut into 4×4 rectangular or diamond shapes. Scatter some pistachios and orange peel on the top.