Baklava [Daring Bakers]

This month’s challenge was a lot of work, a TON of calories, but so incredibly delicious…baklava! The challenge part came with the phyllo dough: we had to make it ourselves. It was very time-consuming (it took me about an hour to roll out 18 sheets) but very gratifying, and surprisingly easy since the pictures, directions, and video that Erica provided were really excellent.

Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.

I made a few alterations to the recipe she provided:

  • my glass dish was 8″ x 8″, so I increased her recipe by about 50%
  • I used a bit less honey and more sugar, since I didn’t want honey to overpower the flavor of the dessert
  • I omitted the almonds and just increased the quantity of pistachios and walnuts
  • I cooked the allspice berries in the syrup instead of adding them to the nuts
  • I added cardamom and a dash of homemade walnut liqueur to the syrup, and only used the zest of the lemon; I omitted the cloves (didn’t have any!)
  • I used a combination of butter and olive oil for buttering the layers of the phyllo

I was too afraid to make any alterations to making the phyllo and I’m glad I didn’t. They turned out very good.

The baklava came out absolutely delectable – fragrant, rich, not too sweet. The texture is closer to the traditional baklava I’m used to – with a flaky but moist top layer of phyllo. Most of the commercially-available baklava here has a crunchy top (maybe a different style? Arab, maybe?) but when you pour syrup on top of the baklava, it does get moist, and this is what I’m used to.

One picture here – 3 more after the jump: