Project Food Blog Round 2- The Classics

When I read the prompt for round 2 of Project Food Blog I knew exactly which culture I wanted to draw from…

It had to be Turkey! I traveled to Turkey last summer and fell in love with the country. From Istanbul to Ephesus, I loved everything about Turkey. I saw ancient ruins, beautiful mosques, and went wild in the Spice Market.

More than anything, I loved the food! Lets be real, any culture where it is encouraged to eat cheese for breakfast is fantastic. I ate tons of eggplant, hummus, thick yogurt, cucumbers, lamb, beef, cheese, nuts, olives, and of course baklava!

After returning from Turkey I missed the food, but never attempted to recreate it myself. Well, the time has come and I decided to make baklava!

What I love about baklava is that there are so many ways to customize it to your tastes. I decided to make pistachio, walnuts, and walnuts with dates because the only thing I miss more than baklava are Turkish delights. The ingredients for this recipe are almost all local. The only ingredients that aren’t local are the sugar, nutmeg, and the phyllo dough. Yesterday morning I went to the Santa Monica Organic Farmer’s Market to pick up my ingredients and then I set off to making baklava!

To save money I bought whole walnuts and then chopped them myself.

After consulting with the honey man at the farmers market I decided to use orange blossom honey in my baklava.

Delicious honey syrup!

Mid way through construction…

and all together:

Delicious, mouth watering, and sticky sweet.

Yes, I ate all three. I have no self control when it comes to phyllo, nuts, sugar and honey.

Are you convinced that you have to make this right now?

Baklava

Sauce:

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup orange blossom honey

1 tablespoon lemon juice (from the lemon)

1/2 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg

Baklava

3 cups of chopped nuts (I used 2 cups walnuts, 1 cup pistachio)

1/4 cup sugar (divided between the nuts)

1 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon (again, divided between the nuts)

8 oz. phyllo dough

3/4 cup melted butter

1 small hand full of dates, chopped, make sure there are no pits

For the sauce

Combine the water and the sugar and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 mins. After 15 mins take off the heat and combine honey, nutmeg, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Return to medium heat and cook for 5 mins, stirring throughout. Take off the heat and cool completely to room temperature. Set aside.

For baklava:

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the chopped nuts with the sugar and the cinnamon. Stir and set aside.

Melt the butter. Unroll the phyllo dough. Be careful! Keep the dough covered with damp towels at all times or it will dry out! I used a casserole dish that is the same size as the phyllo dough. If yours isn’t the same size you will want to cut it down. Lay a layer of phyllo dough in the dish and brush the melted butter on the sheet. I used by fingers, it was like finger painting with butter!  Repeat this 4 times alternating butter and phyllo. Then, layer half of the nuts and dates as you wish! Continue layering the phyllo with the melted butter for two more layers. After adding two more layers of butter and phyllo add the second half of the dates and nuts. Top with four more layers of butter and phyllo dough. Make sure that you generously apply butter to the top layer of the phyllo dough.

Cut into slices with a serrated knife. You must do this before cooking because you will be unable to cut it afterwords. Bake for 30 mins.

Once the baklava is done baking take it out of the oven and pour the cooled syrup over the baklava. Let the baklava cool completely.

Enjoy and afiyet olsun!

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41 thoughts on “Project Food Blog Round 2- The Classics

  1. Pingback: Fall Oatmeal « Left Coast Contessa

  2. I’m a fan of Turkish Delights too, so from one enthusiast to another, I wanted to let you know that the middle eastern market around the corner from me sells them in the deli case. I’m sure there are other places too, but I know about this one for sure.

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  4. I thought about making Baklava for this challenge too, since I’ve never worked with phyllo dough, but I decided any dessert wasn’t far enough from my comfort zone. But this looks delicious, and I’m adding it to my list! you’ve got my vote!

  5. Your baklava looks amazing! I’ve never had it with pistachio’s before, and now I am very curious to taste it. I just might have to make some this weekend. 🙂

    I love your pictures from Turkey, I’ve always wanted to go there. I’m glad you had an amazing trip.

    Anyways, you’ve got my vote.

  6. You’ve got my vote! I had a friend that went to Turkey this summer, and I’ve also got a friend whose favorite dessert of all time is baklava. I don’t blame her! It’s so delicious and satisfying. Using pistachios and walnuts is such a great decision.. it makes me wonder how that baklava would’ve tasted with a hint of rose water. Better yet, like you said.. served with some delicious cheese on the side 😉

    XOXO Best of luck!!!

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  9. Baklava is simply the best dessert! Good choice choosing this recipe and cultural inspiration. I actually just posted my own recipe for Baklava Cigars; but I think I like your more traditional method of layers better

  10. Well done! Your baklava sounds heavenly and I’m so happy you went for this very difficult treat! I’m Turkish and live in Istanbul but I would never dream of attempting something as difficult as baklava! And its wonderful that Turkish cuisine is finally getting the recognition it so rightly deserves…thank you Left Coast Contessa!

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