Bake 52 Week 17: Baklava

This week’s post comes to you from the the nation’s capitol!

I wasn’t sure I’d get this recipe done, as I’m on vacation visiting my sister.  She’s a fellow Bake 52’er, but she also just moved in the last week, so I wasn’t sure her kitchen would be put together enough to do any baking.  It was though, so we spent Sunday night making Baklava.

I knew right from the start that I wouldn’t even be taking a small taste of this recipe.  I do not like nuts, and since that makes up the bulk of baklava, it doesn’t entice me in the slightest.  That’s probably a crime considering I grew up in Carbon County, where the Greek Festival is a BIG deal every year and little old Greek ladies make mass amounts of baklava (I’m sure completely from scratch….no cheating with phyllo dough).

It was a somewhat labor intensive recipe, though not really hard. We started off with making the sugary syrup, which Em worked on…

…while I worked on clarifying the butter, which started out like this…

…and ended up like this.  You skim the foam off the top and then carefully pour the separated butterfat off the top.  Kind of a cool trick to know, though I’d never know when to use it unless a recipe specified it.

Em zested the lemon.  I just love lemons.  They smell and taste so wonderful!

We failed to read the directions on the phyllo, so we didn’t realize that it would need to thaw for at least 2 hours on the countertop.  Given that it was getting late, waiting for it to thaw wasn’t really an option.  So, we worked with torn sheets of somewhat dried out phyllo dough. This was my first experience working with it, and as it started to thaw it reminded me of skin from a peeling sunburn.  Not the most appetizing comparison to make!  As we worked, we layered the phyllo sheets and added the nuts.

While cooking, the baklava smelled like butter.  Lots of butter.  Stomach-churning amounts of butter.  Kind of like the palmiers we made a few weeks ago.  Blech.  Check out the sheen on this baby, pre-baking.  There’s that and more under all those layers.

In spite of our rushed use of the frozen phyllo, the baklava came out of the oven looking quite pretty.  It was pretty late at that point, so we left it to cool overnight and didn’t have a chance to dig into it until after dinner the next day.

I, of course, just watched everyone else partake.  For me, there was nothing appetizing about the way it looked or smelled.  Those who did eat it said it was good.  I don’t know how it compares to traditional baklava, but Nick ate two pieces, which I suppose is a good sign.  Em dropped some off to a neighbor, who later called and left her a message RAVING about how good it was.  She apparently used to live near some people from the Middle East who made baklava frequently.  She said that she’s never found any to rival what they made, but this one did it for her.  Extra good sign!  This is definitely not a repeat recipe for me, but it was at least fun to be able to make it with my sister this week!

Talesha was this week’s host….check out her blog for the full recipe and directions!


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One Response to “Bake 52 Week 17: Baklava”

  1. Amanda Says:

    At least someone liked it right? Maybe you should have taken some to the White House. You guys must be pretty fast un-packers! Glad you guys got to bake together. It looks delicious, to me anyway. 😉

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