The Turkish delight! The one that keeps me craving night, after night, after night! After night!
This is a middle eastern sweet nibble that comes not only in large variety of fillings, but also the country where it claims to be the origin of. I saw this dessert many times on television shows, fell in love with everything about it. One day my good friend brought me one, and it was the sweet joyful wonderfully crunchy yet beautifully moist thing I put in my mouth. I crave for it ever since.
If you searched on the net, as I mentioned earlier, you’ll come up with lots of nuts variety for the filling. Pistachio, almond, walnut, hazelnut, cashew, macadamia, peanut, along with unlimited combination of them. Use whatever you fancy of, or whatever you have easier access to, don’t worry, you can’t go wrong with all these delicious nuts. For me, almond is the cheapest around, it is now even cheaper than Kenari. It’s funny, because Kenari is of Indonesian origin. I wanted pistachio and walnut, but the they are unbelievably expensive in Jakarta, I might as well wait for anyone coming from middle east to bring me some pistachios. Anyone?🙂
I tweaked some recipes into one that suits my preference. First attempt was too sweet, I suffered sugar high all night. The second attempt was p-e-r-f-e-c-t, it was gone in a minute I couldn’t even have a chance to take any photos. This was the third and it got better everytime. What so great about this recipe is that, not only it uses minimum amount of sugar and is dead easy to make, but also, unlike most baklavas, it has just the right strength of sweetness because I didn’t pour all the syrup at once. I drizzled only a couple tablespoons over the hot baklava, just enough to let it drip onto the sides of every squares and wet the bottom layer. This ensures your baklava will be sweet enough, moist enough without losing its crispiness, but not heavily immersed in syrup that would make it too sweet. You can always serve the rest of the syrup alongside the baklava for additional sweetness.
Gotta speak about the syrup here. It was soooo gorgeously magical! Apparently, the concoction of honey, cinnamon, cloves and orange peel creates a magical potion you can’t resist. Seriously, I’m under spell now. My friend said it was, “Slurping good!”
1 pack phyllo pastry
150 gr ground almond
100 gr sliced almond, toasted
50 gr sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
150 gr unsalted butter, melted
100 gr unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
150 ml honey
1 stick cinnamon
1 fresh orange peel
- Preheat the oven at 180 degree celsius. Make the filling: combine all ingredients, blend well.
- Cut phyllo pastry to the size of your pan. This recipe fits nicely to my 15x20x4 cm ovenproof ceramic pan.
- Brush the bottom and sides of the pan with melted butter. Put the the first phyllo on the bottom, brush generously with melted butter. Layer another phyllo, brush it again with melted butter. Make 5-10 layers depending on the depth of your pan, brush generously with butter between layers. I layered 5 phyllos. I wanted 10 or even 12, but my pan was not deep enough.
- Spread half of the filling on the phyllos. Start layering again, make another 5-10 layers, brushing with melted butter between layers.
- Spread the rest of the filling. Layer again with another 5-10 phyllos. Don’t forget to brush in between. Brush the top of the phyllo with melted butter.
- Using pointy sharp knife, cut into diamond square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. Bake for about 60 minutes until golden and crisp.
- While baking, make the syrup: bring all ingredients to boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the syrup is slightly thicken. Let cool.
- Take out the baklava from the oven, let it rest for about 5-10 minutes. Cut again through the cuts you made earlier to make sure the syrup will drip along the sides of each squares and also to make it easier for you to lift every square. Drizzle 2-4 tablespoons of the syrup over hot baklava and let it sit for at least 4 hours –if you can🙂.
- Serve the cooled baklava with the rest of the syrup. Drizzle more syrup before spooning, it’s so good!
- Do not substitute margarine for butter. Never. Na-ah. Big no-no. You do that, expect the hard downfall: the whole flavor will be ruined.
- Be generous on brushing the phyllo with melted butter. It will turn it into these gorgeous golden crisp layers and add moisture to the filling.
- Be creative on the filling. I plan to make another one with the mixture of Kenari, peanuts and cashew. Sounds good?
- You can strain the syrup if you want. I didn’t. *lazy baker*
Wassalamu’alaykum, life is indeed sweet!