Have you ever tasted really authentic baklava? I recently saw a Facebook post from one of my readers which showed one of the dishes she had cooked. It looked so fantastic that I had to touch base with her asking about her blog. It turns out she is not a blogger. So where can we see her fantastic recipes? Here, of course! I asked Seyma to send me a recipe and she chose Baklava. Such a complex dessert, but she really makes it look easy! Enjoy this guest post from Seyma. I hope she will share more!
My mom was born in Turkey so knowing how to make authentic baklava was a rite of passage. I first learned how to make baklava when I was around 8 years old. Of course my mom would limit me to eating one to two pieces a day. To get around this I will sneak a few layers out of the tray until my mom realized that the baklava was getting thinner and thinner!
I have seen restaurants make baklava with vegetable oil or shortening since it lasts longer. But the truth is, it just does not taste the same. Use real butter. If you are watching fat or sugar, then only have a piece or two. Make it for special occasions when you have plenty of guests to share this with. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Authentic Baklava (printable version)
Seyma Bennett Shabbir
1 package of phyllo dough (I use the Athens brand phyllo dough)
2 sticks of melted unsalted sweet cream butter (Do not use margarine or salted butter)
1.5 cup crushed walnuts
¼ cup sugar
1 TBS powdered cinnamon (I prefer allspice, has a bigger kick)
2 cups white sugar
1 cup cold water
1 cinnamon stick
1 thin slice orange
1 TBS lemon juice
Mix 1 cup cold water, 2 cups sugar, a cinnamon stick and orange over low heat. Stir until dissolved and increase the heat to medium heat. Cook the syrup for
about 10 minutes then remove from the heat. Stir in 1 TBS lemon juice to prevent the syrup from crystallizing.
Preheat oven to 375. Mix the walnuts, powdered cinnamon, and ¼ cup sugar for the filling. In an 8 by 14 baking pan (metal or glass pyrex) layer start by brushing the pan with the melted butter. Then start adding a layer of phyllo sheet and coat with butter until you get through half the package. Use a brush for even amounts of butter across the layer. Once you get through half the package, spread the filling mixture in the center.
Continue the butter and phyllo dough layering. Once you get to the final layer, coat the top with extra butter.
Cut the baklava into squares or diamonds and bake it at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a rich golden brown.
Let it cool for at least 30 minutes before pouring the syrup over the baklava.
If you pour hot syrup over hot baklava, it will be mushy. Let the baklava cool a bit first and it will stay crunchy.
Be sure to cut the baklava before baking. If you do it after baking, the baklava will crumble and make a mess.
The lemon juice is necessary to prevent the sugar from crystallizing. I do not refrigerate the baklava for this reason also. But then again, we finish a tray within 24 hours.
I hope you enjoy this truly authentic baklava recipe! Coem back and let me know if you make it!