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 took the straightforward root and just made the recipe straight.
The dough has to be rolled super thin. This is the dozen sheets I was able to roll out of the small ball of dough.
You should be able to read through your dough.
The baklava assembled and coated with a LOT of butter.
Baked for about 45 minutes to golden brown.
It floats! Therefore, it is not a witch. ;) You pour about 4 cups of sauce all over the top and watch as your baklava floats like a bath toy. Magically, it soaks it all up. Not quite like a sponge, but more like a thirsty rock, which is why it takes at least an overnight rest to take it all in.
Well, it's supposed to, anyway.
Although with 1 1/4 cups of honey and 1 1/4 cups of sugar in the sauce, it may be better for our blood sugar that it DIDN'T take it all in. ;)
Besides, it was still very, very delicious!
And fairly easy to make! I'll keep it in my rotation for special occasions.
-Like Danish dough, phyllo dough can be rolled and stretched to super thinness.
-I was initially tempted to sort of stretch the dough out with my rolling pin (I use a French rolling pin which really helped with control and pressure), but that made the edges curl up. It was better to put all the pressure straight down to ooze the dough outward, sort of like you would a tube of toothpaste.
-I was able to make an even dozen phyllo sheets, but the recipe calls for 18. I just used the trimmings through the two middle layers of phyllo to supplement and shortchanged the top and bottom. It seems to have no effect on the taste: the top is still crispy, even after the soaking.
-The recipe said to grind the nuts to superfine, and at first, I was afraid I'd overdone it when the result was a sort of nut flour similar to what I make when a recipe calls for almond flour. There were some chunks still floating around, and miraculously, they came to the forefront of the finished dessert. The finely ground stuff helps soak up the juice. Also, it didn't seem like many, or any, of my allspice berries got ground up, but it doesn't seem to matter. I guess they soften up while baking, or while soaking up all that syrup.
-I used a 8x8 pan because I don't own a 9x9, and it worked just fine. I was initially going to halve the recipe, but I figured I'd go full and just freeze the leftovers after Hun and I each had a piece. I'll let you know how the thawed baklava tastes.
-I was able to cut straight down and through the whole baklava with the initial cuts, but I went back halfway through baking as the recipe directs to make sure the cuts were still sound and hadn't been closed up by any sort of nut ooze. Mmm, nut ooze.
-My syrup overflowed my little pot while cooking because I turned my back a moment too long after I'd put it on the heat. The moral of this story: use a bigger pot and/or don't turn your back on boiling sugar water. At least it smelled great!
-Remember--you need at least an overnight rest for the baklava to soak up all the syrup! Mine rested for over 14 hours before I took the plated photo. I'm going to leave it a few hours more to see if it soaks up more, then I guess siphon off the extra syrup and freeze the leftovers.
Check out all my fellow talented DBers' baklavas through our blogroll!
Followup: The frozen baklava thawed beautifully, and one of my friends who is a tried-and-true baklava fan told me it was the best he'd ever had! It had almost the exact same taste and texture as pre-freezing.