Saturday, April 2, 2011
Tastes Like Greek To Me.......
For awhile I have been playing with the idea of making an "apple baklava". All the ingredients in baklava seemed to be made for apples, so yesterday I gave it a try with fantastic result. I used a basic baklava recipe from Emeril Lagasse, but changed it a bit. I love the addition of the spices in the honey sauce, it keeps it from being to sweet.
For the Syrup:
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 cup honey
* 3/4 cup water
* 1/2 of a lemons worth of juice
* 2 tsp cinnamon
* the zest of one lemon
* Pinch ground cloves
* Pinch ground cardamom
For the filling and dough:
* 1 pound walnuts, or a combination of walnuts, pistachios and almonds
* two apples diced very small
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* half a lemon's worth of juice
* 2 sticks unsalted butter
* 1 pound phyllo, thawed according to package instructions
To make the syrup: Combine the sugar, honey, water, lemon juice, cinnamon , lemon zest, cloves and cardamom in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the syrup is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Set syrup aside to cool.
Using a Chef's knife, finely chop the nuts. (Alternatively, if you have a food processor, pulse the nuts until finely chopped.) In a medium mixing bowl, combine the nuts, cinnamon, apples, lemon juice and salt and stir well to combine.
Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan.
Using a pastry brush, lightly coat a 13 by 9-inch or 15 by 10-inch baking dish with some of the melted butter.
Open the package of thawed phyllo and lay the thin sheets on a clean work surface. Measure the phyllo sheets; if the type you have purchased measures approximately the same size as the baking dish you are using, then proceed from here. If they are larger than your baking dish, use a sharp knife to cut the phyllo sheets approximately the same size as your baking dish. Discard any scraps. Cover the sheets with a piece of plastic wrap and a lightly damp kitchen towel, as the sheets of phyllo dry out very quickly if left uncovered.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place 1 of the sheets of phyllo in the bottom of the buttered baking dish and lightly brush with some of the melted butter. Repeat this procedure with 6 more sheets of phyllo, for a total of 7 layers. Measure about 3/4 cup of the nut mixture and spread the nut mixture evenly over the buttered phyllo sheets. Repeat with 7 more sheets of phyllo, buttering each layer as before, and top these sheets with another 3/4 cup of the nut mixture. Continue this layering process, buttering 7 sheets of phyllo and topping each 7 sheets with 3/4 cup of the nuts, until you have used all of the nut mixture. Layer any remaining sheets of phyllo on top, buttering between each layer, until all of the phyllo sheets have been used.
Use a sharp knife to make 4 cuts lengthwise through the layered phyllo at 1 1/2 inch intervals. (You should end up with 5 lengthwise strips 1 1/2 inches wide.) Now use your knife to cut diagonally across the strips at 1 1/2-inch intervals to form diamond shapes. You should end up with approximately 36 diamond-shaped pieces of baklava in the baking dish.
Bake the baklava until golden brown, about 40 minutes.
Using oven mitts or pot holders, remove the baklava from the oven and set aside on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Using a ladle or small measuring cup, slowly drizzle the cooled syrup over the warm baklava. Allow to stand several hours before serving.
I brought it to our girls game night and it was met with rave reviews!!!