Tuesday, November 11, 2008

#1 Is Up, Can You Believe It?

I can't believe my countdown is already over. I had so much fun doing it and I hope you guys enjoyed it too. I am going to start another one the beginning of December. But you guys tell me.....would you rather have a countdown of my Top 10 Appetizers or my Top 10 Meals? Let me know, and we'll go from there.

Okay, this is my all-time favorite dessert. Paklava as I know it or Baklava as you may know it. We don't make it that often, usually around Christmas time. And we can't wait every time it is made. It is time consuming but worth it. I hope this holiday season you will give it a try!





"Paklava"


2 pkgs. (16 oz./each) Fillo(Phyllo) Dough
6 cups finely chopped walnuts
3/4 cup sugar
5 sticks unsalted butter
2-3 cups honey
Vanilla Sugar
DIRECTIONS:
Crush nuts in food processor as finely as possible. Empty into a bowl and add sugar (the sugar is added to eliminate the bitter taste of the nuts - add more if you need to). Mix well and set aside. Next, melt 5 sticks of the butter in a saucepan. Meanwhile, unwrap the Fillo dough and unroll flat - cover with a slightly damp dish towel to keep sheets of dough from drying out. Generously brush the melted butter on the bottom of a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan. Begin by placing two sheets of fillo dough on one side of the jelly roll pan (width wise). Fold up the edge that overlaps at the bottom of the pan, then carefully set two more sheets on the other side and fold up that edge also so that the fillo dough sheets are flat on the bottom of the pan - the sheets will overlap in the center - that's OK. Now generously butter these two sheets of dough as you will for each layer. Then add two more sheets of dough. When you add your next row of fillo dough, fold up the overlapping dough at the top of the pan and rotate each row after that (the next row would be folded over at the bottom again - this keeps the layers even. Continue this process until you have 14 sheets of fillo dough on each side (total of 28 sheets). Make sure to generously butter those last sheets of fillo dough before adding the nut filling. Next, pour the nuts on top of the fillo dough and spread evenly (you may use less nuts if you prefer - you can make the nut filling as thick or thin as you like). Now take 2 more sheets of dough and butter the bottom side that you will put down on the nuts. These sheets that overlap will be rolled under instead of over - rotate the overlapping from bottom to top also. Then continue to brush each double layer with a good amount of butter until you have 12 sheets of fillo dough on each side (total of 24 sheets). Brush the last layer of dough very generously with butter. Now preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Now it's time to cut the Paklava. Now you are going to cut lines to form the diamond shapes. Cut one line down the center - make sure the cut goes to the bottom of the pan - remember you are cutting through 26 layers of fillo dough along with the thickness of the nut filling. (This is much easier than it sounds). Next, evenly cut down the center of both sides from the center cut and then again evenly cut down the center of those sides until you have eight even columns or rows. Now, you are going to cut diagonally, starting with first row (on the left side of your pan) cut a diagonal line at the bottom of the first row. Then go up a bit in the first row and cut another diagonal line that will extend to the second row (you will always be moving to the right as you make diagonal lines). Then, go up a bit more in the first row and cut a diagonal line that will extend to the third line. Continue this pattern until all the diagonal have been cut. You should have 8-9 diamonds in each row. After all the diamonds are cut, warm up remaining butter and carefully drizzle the outer edges of the pan and then down each row of cut lines. Bake on third rack from bottom of oven for 15-20 minutes (until dough is puffy and slightly showing a pinkish/light brown color). Now move the oven rack up a couple of slots and bake another 10-15 minutes until golden brown (watch baking carefully). Remove from oven and completely cool. Next, slightly warm up honey on stove top. Spoon warm honey all around perimeter of jelly roll pan and down each row and diagonal cuts - the honey will soak in after a few minutes. After 10-15 minutes, check to see if it looks like there is enough honey, add more to your taste. Lastly, sprinkle vanilla sugar generously all over the top of the Paklava (the more the better). The vanilla sugar can be purchased from the market or make your own - take a vanilla bean root (stem) and stick it inside a container filled with white sugar and let sit for many days. The vanilla flavor will saturate the sugar and give you homemade vanilla sugar that can be used in many other recipes or in your favorite coffee or tea. ENJOY!!!
Top: Me & Steven. Bottom: Joe & Anna.
E-mail me with any questions about the Paklava - it sounds harder than it is!

29 comments:

Oiyi said...

Top 10 Appetizers, please!

Jodi said...

I've never made baklava (paklava) before, so I might have to give this a try! I'm so glad you're considering another countdown. I'm looking forward to it!

Barbara Bakes said...

Very impressive. I've bought baklava at the Greek Festival, but never made it. I rarely make appetizers, so I vote for top 10 meals!

Cristine said...

Looks delicious, but I've come to expect nothing less of you! :) Can you believe I've never had this before? I've always seen it and thought it looked good... I guess it's my time to try it out!

I'd vote for fave meals, but apps sounds good, too!

I really enjoyed your countdown!

J.Danger said...

top ten meals please!

Pam said...

A very nice choice for number one. I love baklava and eat it whenever I am at a Greek restaurant.

I hope to see a Top 10 meal countdown.

Bridgett said...

One of my grandmother's friend used to makes these for the family when I was young and they were always such a treat, so I love your #1.
My vote would be for a top 10 appetizers!

Rachelle said...

I have never made Baklava, and only had it once or twice. I remember it being very rich. All those layers of phyllo dough scare me, lol. Yours looks great!

I say go for the appetizers, those will be good for munchies during Christmas gatherings/New Yrs.

Theresa said...

I love your #1 choice. You did such a great job. They look great. Baklava is sooo good!!! Can we see some appetizers, please :)

Lucy said...

Baklava looks great!!! I haven't made in years and I love working w/phyllo makes for some terrific desserts!

OhioMom said...

Like Barbara I have only had baklava at the local Greek festival, yours looks wonderful!

madebymel said...

I have a Greek friend who makes the best baklava, but I have never had much luck with it.
Yours looks perfect! Your phyllo looks so buttery and flaky, and just the right amount of nut filling.

lisa said...

i'm half armenian and we make paklava a couple of times a year (easter, christmas, thanksgiving)

if you've ever had it warm, you will never want it any other way!

Stephanie said...

I've only ever eaten baklava once, but from that one experience, I totally think that all those long, drawn-out instructions are totally worth it! It's really good!

Cheri Sicard said...

Your baklava looks beautiful Priscilla. Wow!

I vote for appetizers!

Maria said...

I loved your top ten, so fun! I can't wait to see more in December. I would prefer the appetizers, but both sound fun!

Colleen said...

Wow, props to you for making this! It is high on my list of things I am scared to bake!

Allie said...

Say it ain't so...it can't be over already!! This is one thing I've been to scared to make. I love your top 10 countdowns.

sarah said...

Hi Priscilla! Thank you so much for your comment on my blog! I'd love it if you add me to your blogroll. You have a great blog as well. That paklava looks amazing! I'm gonna add you to my blogroll, too. You just can't have enough good food blogs to read and share with! :)

Sarah

Susan said...

I loved your top 10!
This is fun!
I vote for top ten meals please!
Thanks a bunch.......

Cara said...

That's impressive! I have always really liked this stuff but thought it looked so difficult to make. Yours looks so nice too!

Lisa said...

It looks beautiful. What is your next top ten? We want more!

Neesie said...

My sister LOVES baklava (as we know it :-).

Yours looks so yummy!

thebrunettebaker said...

Cast my vote for the Appetizers...would be good with Christmas and New Year's coming up.

Katrina said...

Love Baklava! Yours is beautiful and looks delicious. I love the picture of the whole pan of them cut so nicely. Love the pillowy flakey top layers, too. Great job. I would have never guess of this being your #1 pick.
I say do more goodies, but if you're goodied out, go for appetizers!

Joan said...

I vote appetizers!! This looks wonderful. Another great post!!

Meg said...

I vote for 10 meals! Your Paklava looks great! I think I will finally try to make some!

Aggie said...

I love eating baklava, but am scared to make it! I may have to try your recipe out! It looks great Priscilla!

I love Appetizers!!

Laurie Bluedorn said...

The Stepanians taught us to make Paklava!