Baklava Process Paper
Abigail Andrews Dr. John R. Willey ENC1101 MW 10:30 13 November 2012 The Process of Baking Baklava Have you ever been at a Greek restaurant and eaten one of those deliciously flaky Baklava desserts? Do you wish you were able to make it at home for yourself or to bring to a potluck? I know that Baklava seems as if it should be an extremely difficult dish to prepare, but believe it or not it is surprisingly simple and easy. After reading this you should be confident and capable of preparing, baking, and serving the most delicate and savory dessert that will ever come from your oven.
To begin, make sure you have all of the necessary ingredients: one pound of pecans, one teaspoon of cinnamon, a food processor, one 16oz thawed package of Phyllo dough, one can of aerosol butter spray, wet paper towels, a sharp knife, a 9×13 casserole dish, a medium size saucepan, one cup of water, one cup of white sugar, half a cup of honey, a teaspoon of vanilla, and a package of cupcake liners. Secondary, clean off the counters in the kitchen so there will be a sanitary and clutter free area to work on.
Preheat the oven to 350* with the oven rack placed in the middle.
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Once you have prepared your kitchen you can get started on the recipe. First pour a pound of whole pecans and a teaspoon of cinnamon into the food processor and grind them to a fine chop. If you do not own a food processor you can purchase finely chopped pecans and hand mix the cinnamon into them; however, I do recommend the food processor method because you can chop the pecans to a nearly dust-like consistency. Set the cinnamon pecan blend aside while you start to prepare your dough.
Keep in mind that this dough is the most delicate part of the recipe, but if handled quickly and carefully there should be no problems. After completely thawing a 16oz package of Phyllo dough, in the fridge overnight, open and unroll one of the two packages. If it does begin to dry out and break easily don’t fret; simply cover it with a slightly wet paper towel. Only work with one roll at a time; the thin layers of dough can dry out very quickly. Place two sheets of dough into a buttered 9×13 pan that is at least two inches tall.
Completely cover the second sheet with spray butter. I have previously used melted butter and applied it with a brush, but the aerosol can works best; it is quicker and doesn’t tear the thin layers. Repeat that process until eight sheets are layered and buttered. On top of that eighth sheet of buttered dough evenly sprinkle three tablespoons of the cinnamon pecan blend. Gently place two more sheets down and butter them completely. Repeat the process of sprinkling the pecans and layering two sheets of buttered dough until there are only six sheets remaining.
Prepare the last six pieces of dough in the same fashion as the bottom layers; two sheets than butter, two sheets than butter and so on until you have used all of the dough and the top layer has butter on it. Buttered fingertips on your non-dominant hand may help keep the top layer of dough in place for this part. Using a very sharp knife carefully slice three times so there are four long rows. Some people make their baklava into squares but I prefer smaller triangles because it is such a sweet treat that one almost feels guilty devouring a large piece. To make triangles cut diagonally across the pan.
Take great care to insure every piece is completely separated all the way down to the bottom most layer of dough. After all of the cuts have been made place the dish onto the middle rack of an oven that has been preheated to 350*. It should bake for about 50 minutes or until the top layer has a beautiful golden brown color. The sauce will need to be prepared while the baklava is baking, so it will be ready when you take the dish out of the oven. In a medium saucepan bring one cup of water and one cup of white sugar to a boil while stirring occasionally.
Once the sugar has completely dissolved pour in half a cup of honey and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Gently stir the mixture while it simmers for 20 minutes. Immediately after removing the golden baklava from the oven drizzle one tablespoon of sauce on each piece, cover all the dry spots with the remaining sauce. Allow the dessert to cool completely before transferring the flaky triangles into individual cupcake liners. Put a few pieces into Ziploc bags and freeze for a tasty treat another day or arrange them on a serving platter to share with friends.
Be sure to leave them uncovered or they may become soggy overnight. You are now equipped with the knowledge to prepare a dish that will have people singing praise to your baking skills. As you can see this recipe is surprisingly easy to make with an amazing end product. Every time you make this dessert it will become easier and easier; which is good because once you share it with others they will be asking you to make it again and again. Remember, honey and pecans are healthy so feel free to have another piece!