Remember how, a couple of posts ago, I said that Anton’s latest obsession was finding the perfect filo dough?
Well, he has experimented like crazy! I came home one afternoon to find little bowls of dough set up all over the kitchen, each containing a different filo recipe.
With each dough he did pull tests: how wide and how thin the dough would get before tearing.
Then he cut each sheet into squares. We had piles of filo squares that looked like paper piles all over the kitchen.
He actually managed to make filo sheets thinner than commercial dough!
Next came the baklavas. He doesn’t care for walnuts much, so he used ground almonds for the filling. I love almonds, but on their own as a filling, it just seemed too thin… He did one baklava with a mixture of nuts. In fact, he threw in our entire nut bowl! It was awesome!
Making baklava is fun. You get to layer and butter, layer and butter.
OK, now we had pans and pans of baklava. Hallooo, friends, come and taste!
I think he’s ready for a new obsession now….
815 grams flour
436 ml warm water
100 ml oil
1 room temperature egg
Sift flour. Slowly add oil and when blended add egg.
Add water and knead dough into a soft ball. Place in bowl and let rise for about 45 minutes.
Place half the dough in the center of a cloth which has been sprinkled with flour.
Roll the dough thin, and then begin stretching dough with hands, going around and around the circumference, until dough is as thin as you can get it without splitting.
You can either use it right away, or let it stand until stiff and then cut into sheets.
Baklava ( recipe from Athens a la Carte by Olympia Marketos)
8 cups chopped walnuts or almonds
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 lb. filo sheets
1 lb. butter, melted
Mix nuts in a bowl with sugar, cinnamon, and allspice.
Cut the filo to fit the size of your baking pan. (recommended is 10 x 15 inches, 1 1/2 inches deep)
Brush pan with melted butter, place filo sheet on top, and brush with melted butter.
Repeat with 5 more sheets.
Cover with a thin layer of nut mixture.
Cover with a layer of filo and brush with melted butter.
Sprinkle this with the nut mixture, cover with filo, brush with butter, and repeat until you are close to the top of your pan or only have 6 sheets left.
Place each one and brush with melted butter in turn.
With a sharp knife, dipped in hot butter, cut the baklava into strips 1 1/2 inches wide and then cut strips diagonally forming diamond-shaped pieces.
Stick a clove into the centre of each piece.
Heat remaining butter and pour it into the knife slits.
Bake in a slow oven 300F for about an hour.
When the baklava is lightly browned, pour the boiling hot syrup over it slowly.
Increase oven temperature to 400F and bake for about 5 more minutes so that the syrup has penetrated and the top is golden-brown.
Remove and pour a little more syrup over the top.
Let stand for 3 hours (what!) until serving. Dunno about that one
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
Cook sugar and water over low heat until syrupy, about 15 minutes.
Add the honey and vanilla and cook for 5 minutes longer.
Watch this stuff, it will start burning and explode out of the pan if you leave it too long. Trust me.
all photos and content ©leslie hunter uhl 2011