Monday, June 27, 2011

The Daring Bakers make baklava!


I know what you're thinking: rolling chopped nuts in packaged phyllo is not much of a challenge. Well, you should know by now how the Daring Bakers works. We had to make our own phyllo from scratch and roll, roll, roll. It sounds daunting, but the dough was so silky and easy to work with that it wasn't difficult, just time-consuming. From a tennis ball sized lump of dough, I was able to get about 25 sheets.
My failed baklava tower!
The best baklava I have ever had was made by the aunt of one of my Turkish students years ago. I had never cared much for baklava before the day he brought it to class. Unlike the baklavas I had tried before this was super fresh, moist but not drippy, and filled with bright green pistachios from Turkey. I love pistachios, so I tried to recreate that amazing baklava for this challenge. As I did with these pistachio brownies, and this pistachio panna cotta, I shelled, blanched and peeled a lot of pistachios.  The bright green colour and buttery flavour are worth the investment of time. And I can do while I'm watching Wimbledon. I used almonds for the top layer. Both fillings were scented with cardamom, and I brushed the layers of phyllo with browned butter. After baking, I doused the hot pastries, a bit too liberally, with a lime and sugar syrup. It was a delicious, but very sweet treat.

The next morning, I took all the off-cuts from my baklava and tried to roll them again. It was possible, but the dough was much tougher to roll out. I made a couple of nightingale's nests with the leftover dough and pistachio filling. These weren't as sweet as the baklava triangles, but not as tender as those made with fresh dough. Were mine as good as that long ago baklava? No, but they were pretty good for a first try.

Thanks to Erica for a great challenge! I look forward to making this dough again and making strudel out of it later this summer. Check out the slideshow at the Daring Kitchen to see all the kinds of baklava the Daring Bakers made this month. Download the printable challenge PDF with recipes, here.
I wish I had waited to cut and taste the baklava:
2 days after making, it was at its best. Moist throughout,
and it held together well.


Blog-checking lines: 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.

28 comments:

Valerie said...

Well done, Mary! Your baklava looks perfect, especially those cute little nests. :D

yummychunklet said...

I am so impressed that you made your own phyllo dough! Your dessert turned out fantastic!

yummychunklet said...

I am so impressed that you made your own phyllo dough! Your dessert turned out fantastic!

Suzler said...

Stunning baklava, Mary - the green pistachio, the brown butter, the cardamom and lime syrup all sound delicious. Your layers of phyllo look so fantastic too. Bravo!

astheroshe said...

That is amamzing! and i love ur flavor combination :)

shelley c. said...

Wow, Mary, that looks outstanding! I love the bright colors, between the dough, the nuts, the syrup - it looks so beautiful and appealing!! Wonderful job!!

Audax said...

Mary that looks so delicious and I love the green colour of the pistachio nuts. Your rolling skills are outstanding superb work on this challenge.

Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Carolyn said...

Its looks great no matter how they are stacked! ;) great job! Also looking forward to you dessert pasta!

Namratha said...

The layers look delicious, I like that you did separate nut layers. Well done!

UFRV said...

Very pretty outcome! I didn't find rolling the dough that easy (well, it was easy rolling but getting each sheet thin enough was daunting), but I like that you used cardamom on the syrup! Congrats on a great challenge!

Jo said...

Very pretty, I love the nests!

Ruth H. said...

Beautiful. The colors, the flavors, the description... Please let me know when you are making this again, I will be there!! Thank you for sharing your fun with us!

Kathy said...

Great job! Very pretty nests!

lifeisfull said...

The daring bakers are amazing.. making phyllo pastry! Good job on your first try. I'm sure you'll make a great strudel too!

INMA said...

Your combination of flavors and phyllo pastry look amazing, and of course DELICIOUS!!!congratulations

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

Your results are wonderful. I'll have to try making my phyllo one day. I think your choices of pistachios was excellent...one of my faves too. Great baklava!

chef_d said...

I love pistachios too. Your baklava looks so pretty with all the light colors and I love the nightingale nests they remind me of cinnamon rolls :)

Lisa said...

Gorgeous, Mary! I've never seen such a light and almost delicate looking baklava! The lime sugar syrup was a brilliant idea! Your nightingale nests was such a great idea too..and they also look phenomenal! You never cease to amaze me with your baking skills and creativity :)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Very well done! Your baklava look so delicious. I really love pistachios.

Cheers,

Rosa

korenainthekitchen.com said...

25 sheets?! That's incredible!

Your baklava looks beautiful and the pistachio/almond/cardamom/lime combo sounds delicious :)

Valérie said...

I'm impressed that you managed to get so many sheets! I must've screwed up somewhere... Your baklava looks perfect, and I love the tweaks you made.

Bourbonnatrix said...

i love the look of those layers! amazing!

Renata said...

Amazing lookin baklavas, Mary! I agree with you that on the third day it was at its best, unfortunately, not much left :))

Kris Ngoei said...

This is gorgeous! Pistachio really makes an outstanding layer especially when you alternate it with almond .... Great choice!

Love the nightingales' nests too...

The Betz Family said...

Wow, your baklava looks so light colored! And I love the green of the pistachios. Nice job on the challenge!

Beth said...

I'm so impressed by everyone who made the baklava. I can't imagine making my own phyllo!

TeaLady said...

You made Baklava!! Wow!! I love to eat it, but am a little timid to even try to make it. Maybe one day....
Yours looks fantastic.

ericasedibles said...

beautiful!!! your baklava is stunning, and i love the nests you made. glad you enjoyed the challenge