Saturday, September 12, 2015

Baklava for the win!!

Hello, everybody! The Fresh Pioneer is back and I have a fun recipe that I'd never tried before. Mostly, I hadn't tried it because I heard it was hard. But it wasn't!
 So, for a single recipe you'll need:
1 lb butter
1 package phyllo dough
1 lime
1 cup honey
1 cup water
1 cup ground walnuts and about 1/4 to sprinkle on the top
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350F
 There's the sugar. Nothing important but I just LOOOOOVE this pyrex set my friend sent me last year. I use the little cups for everything. They're adorable.
Mix the ground walnuts, white sugar and cinnamon together. (Bunny ears on the grater. Makes perfect sense.)
Melt the butter and brush some into the bottom of the pan. Layer in the phyllo dough, brush on more butter, layer in more dough. When you have about 5-6 layers (it's very thin but it will puff), spread on the walnut mixture.
After that, layer on some more dough, brushing on the butter inbetween each layer.
 After you've used up all your butter and dough, brush the top with butter and put into the oven at 350F for fifty minutes. Some people cut the baklava before, some after. I decided to cut after sicne I hadn't decided on triangles, diamonds, or squares.
 While the baklava is cooking, boil the sugar and the water. Then add the honey, vanilla, and a squeeze of lime. Some people put in rose water, some put in lime. I've had both and I prefer the lime. Adds a bit of zing.
 So, here is one right out of the oven. SO PUFFY. And my house smelled amazing.
Pour on the honey, sugar, vanilla, lime solution and then sprinkle the leftover chopped nuts on the top. Now chill for about twelve hours. It really makes all the flavors come together.
After it's been chilled, remove from the fridge and let return to room temperature. Cut into decorative pieces and put on pretty plates and ... wait... I can't find those photos. My friend Mindy was with me and my phone had died, so she took pics, sent them to me, and I promptly lost them. :) Just imagine them arranged prettily on a teal cake platter with an adorable little tea set full of coffee.  I would recreate this as I write the blog post but the two pans of baklava are GONE.

Meanwhile, my Cane River Romance, These Sheltering Walls,  is on sale for .99! I have the cover for the fourth book, but I'm going to wait to reveal it because it's not coming out for another month.
  Have a wonderful weekend and we'll see you next Friday!


  1. We love baklava. I worked in a Greek restaurant for 11 years, and of course baklava was a staple. We twisted it here, though and I use NY Maple Syrup in place of the honey to give it a real "Northeast" kind of flavor. And half my kids don't like the taste of honey, so that was a no-brainer.

    I score it before baking and I do the diamonds just because it's old-world looking, but isn't that a funny reason? Because in the restaurant Rula would say they're too much trouble and too much waste (because the sold pieces needed to be uniform) and she did triangles. And they tasted wonderful!

    What a good reminder to get Phyllo dough, and yeah, isn't this like crazy easy when you use the frozen dough? I made Phyllo/Fillo dough ONCE.

    It took forever and it wasn't as good and it was a Mess with a capital S. I have learned that using frozen doughs for some of this stuff is just the very best thing going. Love it! Thank you, Virginia!

    And huge congrats on all of your new books! That is so fun to see... I love it!

    1. Maybe that's the part I heard was so hard - the phyllo dough. S if you buy that premade..... SCORE!

      I like the idea of maple syrup. Interesting.

    2. Ruthy, how old are you? Didn't you work in a wedding dress shop forever? And an Italian restaurant? Or maybe I made that last one up out of wishful thinking. I want to be Maggie in 'Return to Me' and work in an Italian/ Irish restaurant. Anyway, I think we've finally discovered your secret. You're immortal!
      And I tried to make phyllo dough once. I put it in the same area as home made croissants (which actually work out). Huge amount of time with the risk of ending up wasting your day.
      And thanks! I love this series. :)

  2. Wow, I've never used Phyllo dough -- I can't believe how puffy it gets! And, while there's lots of steps to this, it does look way easier than I thought it would be. Would make a great holiday treat....yes I'm already thinking Thanksgiving (October for me). Oh -- and I like the bunny ears on the grater!!!!

    1. Have you ever had spanakopita? I love that stuff but nobody felt like feta the other day.
      And I'm absolutely thinking of Thanksgiving! I think of it year-round!

  3. The baklava looks interesting. I love the cover of your book. Sounds like another winner. smile

    1. Thanks! This one actually came out in May, but it's going on sale now before the release of the 4th. :)

  4. My husband loves baklava, but I've never made it for the same reason you hadn't. I've heard it was way too hard.

    A parent made it for my class once. I've never been so brave.

    1. It was pretty darn easy. I'd say 15 minutes, tops. :) Well, and the cooking and chilling time.

  5. How did I miss dropping by this weekend?! I LOVE baklava! Thanks for sharing how to make it! I've wondered how they do it. :)