Monday, June 27, 2011

Baking Baklava

Every now and again The Distracted Cook decides that a challenge thrown down by The Daring Baker just has to be mastered! And this time....

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.

I have always loved eating Baklava and have never really thought about making it. And certainly not making it from scratch - that is, making my own phyllo dough.  So, this was an adventure to be sure!

First there is that paper thin dough that has to be made. If you have ever worked with phyllo dough that you find in the freezer section at the grocery store, you already know what I was thinking. NO WAY! But after reading through Erica's challenge it looked as if there might be a way.

The four ingredients weren't anything special and in fact I'll bet that you have them in your pantry right now.
After combing them and mixing and kneading I ended up with a ball of dough that looked just about like what Erica had in her picture. Success! 

Erica very cutely tells us to take the dough out of the mixer bowl and THROW it on the counter and continue kneading for a few more minutes. And we get to SLAM it down a few more times just so we feel good. I am not sure what it does to the dough, but it certainly does make it fun.

After kneading the dough I put a very thin coating of vegetable oil on it and wrapped it up tight in plastic wrap and let it sit there for a couple of hours.

Then next part of the recipe is where it got to be really fun ( or aggravating) and I was so involved with rolling the dough into those really, really thin rounds that I forgot to take pictures! Yes, that's right - I flat out forgot what i was doing -- right a blog post while cooking!

I had already made my filling so I was ready to layer the phyllo dough. Melted butter, phyllo dough, melted butter, phyllo dough and a few more times like that and then a layer of the nut filling. After doing this a few more times I discovered that I did not have near enough layers of the dough to make this recipe. So I just did what The Distracted Cook always does in situations like this : punt!  My Baklava does NOT look like it should for many reasons, the most important being that I ended up with a nut layer and not a dough layer.

But it looked far too good to pitch to the animals outside the kitchen, so I baked it and poured the honey syrup over it and let it sit overnight. I did cheat a bit and try a taste last night and you know what? It is great. Despite too few layers and the nuts on top, it is delicious! And I am going to try it again and this time, I will make 3 times the dough recipe and maybe, just maybe, it will be perfect! If you want to try your hand at this great challenge and recipe, visit The Daring Kitchen and give it try. And while you are there, sign up to join us each month as we accept the challenge!

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