Thursday, August 13th, 2020

Blow ‘Em Away With Your Baklava

Published on December 15, 2009 by   ·   7 Comments Pin It
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There is a great deal of debate amongst food historians about the place and time of origin of baklava, with some claiming it was created during the height of ancient Mesopotamia, others claiming it was served up during the reign of the Byzantine empire, and others claiming that the modern version of baklava didn’t spring up until the early stages of the Ottoman empire. Whenever it first appeared, the locals must have danced for joy when this taste sensation hit their palates.   Baklava is the sweetest, protein-rich dessert that nobody would *ever* expect you to make.   Surprise them, after all you are a wo/man of many talents.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds blanched almonds
  • 1 pound walnuts
  • 15-16 whole allspice berries or 2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 8 oz. vegan margarine
  • 1 pound phyllo dough
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 1 tbsp. of rose water
  • The Syrup
  • 2 cups sweet agave nectar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or 1 whole vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp. orange zest

Instructions
Serves: 32. Time to Prepare: 1 hour 30 minutes + 8 hours to set. Melt the margarine. Grind the nuts and allspice in a food processor until they are coarse. Mix the nuts with the cinnamon, allspice, and sugar. Combine the water with the rose water in a spritzer and set it aside. Brush a 13″ x 9″ x 2″ pan with some of the melted margarine. Take a sheet of phyllo dough and place it on the bottom of the pan. Brush it lightly with the margarine. Repeat the layering and brushing so you have ten sheets total. Place a layer of 1/3 of the nut and spice mix on this. Spritz the nut layer with the water/rose water. Cover the nut layer with six sheets of phyllo, brushing each layer with melted margarine. Add another layer of 1/3 of the nuts and spritz with the rose water solution. Repeat the process for adding another six layers of phyllo. Top this with the remaining 1/3 of the nut mixture, spritzing it with more rose water. Add 8 more layers of phyllo dough, brushing each one with melted margarine. Cut the baklava into 32 triangles by making three cuts along the width of the pan so that you have four rows. Slice down the middle of each row such that you are slicing down the length of the pan. Slice each of those rows in half again along the length of the pan. There should now be 16 rectangles of baklava. To make the triangles, slice along one diagonal of each of the rectangles. Give the baklava one last spritz of rose water. Bake the baklava on 350 degrees for 45 minutes. While it is baking, make the syrup. Zest the orange. Simmer all the syrup ingredients together for about ten minutes. Once the baklava is done baking, pour the syrup on it and allow it to sit for at least 8 hours.

Presentation: Sprinkle some smashed pistachios on top, prop a cinnamon stick against the baklava, and sprinkle cinnamon around the plate.

Time Management: There are a couple tricks you can do to make the recipe easier. First, add the melted margarine to a spritzer so that you can spray each layer of phyllo instead of brushing it. Second, you can place the unbaked baklava in the refrigerator for an hour to tighten it so that it is easier to cut. Finally, if you are not quick at doing the phyllo layers, cover your phyllo with a barely damp towel so that it does not dry out.

Complementary Food and Drinks: Serve baklava with a strong cup of coffee.

Where to Shop: I prefer to use whole wheat phyllo, which I usually have to purchase at Sprouts or Whole Foods. If you can get the nuts and spices from bulk bins, you’ll save quite a bit of money. Vegan margarine can be found at the above mentioned stores as well as Trader Joe’s, Central Market, and Fresh & Easy. It’s even showing up in some conventional markets. For the rose water, you’ll probably have to go to a Middle Eastern or Asian market and if you can’t find it, just use plain water. Approximate cost per serving is $.75.

How It Works: Brushing each piece of phyllo crisps the phyllo as it bakes and also gives it a very rich taste as well as keeping it hydrated while you make the baklava. Sugar is added to the nut mix so that it caramelizes during the baking process, making the nut layer tight. Rose water is spritzed on these layers not only to add a subtle fragrance, but to help keep the sugar from burning. It’s sprinkled on the topmost layer so that it will slightly puff. The baklava is baked before the syrup is added so that the phyllo is a bit dry, which helps it absorb all the gooey liquid. You will find that the syrup is a bit runny, but that helps all the phyllo sheets absorb it by making sure there is enough liquid to penetrate to the bottom of the baklava. I cut my baklava before baking because I find it much easier to handle that way. Making baklava is a chore, but with the amount that you get, it’s well worth it, especially if you use fresh ingredients like vanilla bean. The taste is complex and decadent!

Recipe Courtesy of Manly Man Jason Wyrick, the executive Chef and publisher of The Vegan Culinary Experience: The world’s only vegan culinary magazine.   Check it out for the most unbelievable recipes you’ve ever drooled over.

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Readers Comments (7)

  1. Katie says:

    WOW YUM!

    New SAHALE SNACKS giveaway, music, food + fitness – http://katiechangesforkatie.blogspot.com/2009/12/sahale-snacks-giveaway-slim-secrets.html

    Happy TUESDAY!

    Katie

  2. April Oh says:

    MMMMmmm…thanks for this! I loooove Baklava but haven’t had it in years because it’s always laden with butter and honey. It doesn’t seem so hard to make myself, thanks to this recipe, and I love that I can make it whole wheat, too! :)
    (And, I just subscribed to the Vegan Culinary Experience!)

  3. Chastity says:

    They sell a ton of baklava in my city and NONE of it is vegan so I am left averting my eyes. But no more.

    THANK YOU!!

  4. I’ve been meaning to make some baklava for a while – this is a great recipe :)

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