Of all the desserts in the world, baklava is rated as one of the ten best! Many people think baklava originated in Greece. Baklava originated in Turkey. Turkey has many great signature dessert pastry recipes that are commonly overlooked by modern chefs. The origins of fine pastry making can be found in Turkey, Persia and the middle east.
Turkish dessert pastries are usually served as petite portions. Spices, nuts and fruit are commonly used for making Turkish pastries. Greek versions of baklava do not usually have fruit in the recipe. Dried fruit or fruit paste is used to make many variations of baklava in Turkey.
Phyllo dough is usually made with a hand turned or electric powered sheet dough rolling machine. Making the paper thin sheets of phyllo dough by hand is not easy to do. For this recipe, it is best to purchase some pre-made phyllo dough if you do not have a flat cold marble surface to hand roll phyllo dough. Phyllo dough can be found in Greek import stores and most grocery stores as a frozen dough product. Pre-made phyllo dough is convenient.
Turkish Almond Walnut Plum Baklava Preparation:
Place 12 ounces of unsalted butter in a sauce pot.
Melt the butter over low heat.
When the watery milk separates from the butter, carefully pour the butter off of the top, into a bowl. Discard the milk fat water that remains in the sauce pot.
Note: It is much easier to make baklava if the water is removed from the butter. The butter should not be clarified at a high temperature! The milk fats can be saved to flavor vegetables or potatoes.
Place 3/4 cup of almonds on a cutting board.
Place 3/4 cup of walnuts on the cutting board.
Very finely chop the almonds and walnuts together.
Place the finely chopped nuts into a bowl.
Add 1/3 cup of sugar.
Add 1 tablespoon of cinnamon.
Stir the nut mixture together.
Very finely mince 3/4 cup of dried plums. (Prunes)
Set the minced prunes aside in a bowl.
Turkish Almond Walnut Plum Baklava Assembly and Baking:
Cut 24 8"x 8" square shaped sheets of phyllo to start with. If you run out of phyllo sheets later in the recipe, then more can be cut.
Keep the phyllo sheets covered with a dry towel while you make this dessert, so they do not dry out.
Brush a baking pan with melted butter.
Lay a phyllo sheet on a board and brush with butter on both sides.
Place the buttered phyllo sheet on the buttered baking pan.
Butter the second phyllo sheet and place on top of the first sheet.
Stack 8 layers of buttered phyllo sheets on the baking pan.
This first stack of phyllo will be the base of the baklava.
On top of the 8th layer of buttered phyllo, sprinkle a thin layer of the nut mixture.
Place 2 more buttered phyllo sheets on top of the nut mixture layer.
Place the chopped dried plums on top of those two phyllo sheets. (Just sprinkle the minced prunes on the phyllo. Do not try to spread the minced prunes on the phyllo or the delicate phyllo will tear!)
Place 2 more buttered phyllo sheets on top of the minced prunes.
Sprinkle the nut mixture on the phyllo.
Repeat stacking alternating layers of the nut mixture and two buttered sheets of phyllo, till you run out of the nut mixture. (About 5-8 layers.)
To complete the top of the baklava, butter 8 sheets of phyllo and place each of them on top of the stack of phyllo.
The baklava should look like a tall layered stacked square of uncooked pastry in the baking pan.
Using a sharp wet knife, gently trim the edges, to make the baklava square with even straight sides.
Cut the square baklava into four triangles or squares before baking.
Leave the 4 baklava pieces butted against each other, without moving them in the pan.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, till the pastry turns a golden brown color.
While the baklava bakes in the oven, make the syrup. The syrup must be finished before the baklava comes out of the oven!
Place 1 cup of water in a sauce pot over medium heat.
Add 1 cup of sugar.
Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
Add 1/3 cup of honey.
Gently boil and reduce the syrup mixture, till it becomes thick enough to lightly glaze a spoon.
Remove the sauce pot from the heat.
Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.
Turkish Almond Walnut Plum Baklava:
Remove the hot baklava from the oven, when it is finished baking to a golden brown color.
Immediately spoon the syrup on the edges and sides of the baklava.
Note: Do not pour the syrup over the top of the baklava! That will ruin the baklava! By spooning the syrup on the edges of the baklava, the syrup will be pulled into the baklava pastry.
Let the baklava set at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours, till all the syrup is absorbed and soaked up by the pastry.
Use a spatula to place a piece of baklava on a plate.
No garnish is necessary!
Get ready for a very nice tasting classic Turkish dessert! This is a very tasty combination of dried plum and nuts in this recipe. Minced prunes add a classic old fashioned Turkish flavor.
If you take the time to make this dessert correctly, then you will be looked upon as a pastry chef by dinner guests. Baklava is a very impressive great tasting classic Turkish dessert! ... Shawna