Thursday, August 5, 2010

The PERFECT tea-fika time treat

Baklava is one of my favorite treats with a hot beverage. It's crunch, sticky, sweet and nutty and a perfect little present for someone special. 

So when we ate it every single day while we were in Istanbul, well, you can imagine how wonderful that was.

Regular diamond-shaped baklava takes time, not just because you have to butter and fill 22 sheets of phyllo dough, but also because you have to let it sit overnight before eating one. As much as I love regular baklava, it's hard to go back when I started making this easy rolled baklava.
I chose almonds and walnuts because they go well together, but one could just as well use either or both. I love the taste of cinnamon, it's what makes baklava, so it's a must.

I always use high-quality salted butter for baklava because you can really smell and taste it.

It's important to make the syrup while the baklava is in the oven (or before you start the baklava) because you want the syrup to be cool when you drizzle it over the hot baklava. This prevents a soggy baklava.

This rolled baklava is extremely crunchy on the day it's made, which my mom loves. The next day it has the 'proper' baklava texture - chewy and slightly crunchy. So it suits every mood.

Rolled Baklava
Makes 48 pieces 

4 sheets of phyllo dough, thawed
1/4 cup finely chopped almonds
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/8 tsp cinnamon powder
A pinch of ground cloves (opt)
25g high quality salted butter

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cinnamon stick
3 - 4 orange peels

1. Chop nuts together and mix with spices.
2. Melt butter and butter the bottom of an aluminum or other 8 inch by 8 inch pan.
3. Line one phyllo sheet on parchment paper and paint with butter.
4. Cut the phyllo sheet in half width-wise. After a 2 inch gap from the top, mound an inch of nuts through the width of the sheet, leaving one inch spaces at the beginning and end of the sheet.
5. Fold the sides onto the nut mixture, then roll into a long cigar starting from the top. Cut into finger-size pieces. Repeat with the rest of the phyllo sheets.
6. Place all in the pan snugly and coat the tops and sides with butter.
7. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until golden.
8. While baklava is baking, quickly make the syrup: boil sugar, water, cinnamon stick and orange peel until it thickens. Take off heat, pick out the orange peel and cinnamon stick, and add honey. Cool under an ice bath.
9. When baklava is cooked and just out of the oven, pour the syrup evenly over the baklava.
10. Allow 30 minutes to absorb the syrup, if you can.
Enjoy with tea or coffee and revel in the moment!

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