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  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on June 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baklava, phyllo dough   

    Daring Bakers 51st Challenge: From phyllo dough to baklava 

    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 had made baklava a couple of times before, with store- bought phyllo. I was a little leery of having to having the dough from scratch. Actually, making the dough was not the issue. The rolling and stretching was. My hunch was right. The recipe yielded a very nice and pliable dough. Unfortunately that’s where it ended for me. As I started rolling the first sheet (I needed 18 in all), it became clear an exercise in frustration was ahead. Words of one of my chef instructors came to mind: “Liz, you have to pick your battles.” Though this originally related to my hopelessness in turning vegetables, as well as not very good knife skills in general, I knew this was another battle I would not pick. After failing to stretch properly a couple of sheets, I gave up. I ended up using the dough to make a “pets de soeurs” (“nuns’ farts”), a common way in Quebec to use up pastry dough. Spread some butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, roll up and cut pin wheels. Bake at 350F until dough is cooked through. The next day I bought some phyllo sheets and completed the challenge. Very nice and incredibly sweet recipe. I highly recommend buying pre-made phyllo sheets. Life is too short. 😉

    Pets de soeurs

    Baklava

    Phyllo Dough:

    *Note 1: To have enough to fill my 9” x 9” baking dish with 18 layers of phyllo I doubled this recipe.

    *Note 2: Single recipe will fill a 8” x 5” baking dish.

    *Note 3: Dough can be made a head of time and froze. Just remove from freezer and allow to thaw and continue making your baklava

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/3 cups (320 ml) (185 gm/6½ oz) unbleached all purpose (plain) flour
    • 1/8 teaspoon (2/3 ml) (¾ gm) salt 1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
    • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
    • 1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) cider vinegar, (could substitute white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar, but could affect the taste)

    Directions:

    • In the bowl of your stand mixer combine flour and salt
    • Mix with paddle attachment
    • Combine water, oil and vinegar in a small bowl.
    • Add water & oil mixture with mixer on low speed, mix until you get a soft dough, if it appears dry add a little more water (I had to add a tablespoon more)
    • Change to the dough hook and let knead approximately 10 minutes. You will end up with beautiful smooth dough. If you are kneading by hand, knead approx. 20 minutes.
    • Remove the dough from mixer and continue to knead for 2 more minutes. Pick up the dough and through it down hard on the counter a few times during the kneading process.
    • Shape the dough into a ball and lightly cover with oil
    • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest 30-90 minutes, longer is best ( I let mine rest 2 hours and it was perfect)

    Rolling your Phyllo

    ** Remove all rings and jewelry so it does not snag the dough** Use whatever means you have to get the dough as thin as you can.

    • Unwrap your dough and cut off a chunk slightly larger then a golf ball. While you are rolling be sure to keep the other dough covered so it doesn’t dry out.
    • Be sure to flour your hands, rolling pin and counter. As you roll you will need to keep adding, don’t worry, you can’t over-flour.
    • Roll out the dough a bit to flatten it out.
    • Wrap the dough around your rolling pin/dowel
    • Roll back and forth quickly with the dough remaining on the dowel (see attached video for a visual, its much easier then it sounds. Nope, not for me, it wasn’t.)
    • Remove; notice how much bigger it is!
    • Rotate and repeat until it is as thin as you can it. Don’t worry if you get rips in the dough, as long as you have one perfect one for the top you will never notice.
    • When you get it as thin as you can with the rolling pin, carefully pick it up with well floured hands and stretch it on the backs of your hands as you would a pizza dough, just helps make it that much thinner. Roll out your dough until it is transparent. NOTE: you will not get it as thin as the frozen phyllo dough you purchase at the store, it is made by machine
    • Set aside on a well-floured surface. Repeat the process until your dough is used up. Between each sheet again flower well. You will not need to cover your dough with a wet cloth, as you do with boxed dough, it is moist enough that it will not try out.

    Baklava Recipe

    Adapted from Alton Brown, The Food Network 30 servings Ingredients For the syrup:

    • 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) honey
    • 1 1/4 cups (300ml) water
    • 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) (280 gm/10 oz) sugar
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 (2-inch/50 mm) piece fresh citrus peel (lemon or orange work best)
    • a few cloves or a pinch or ground clove When you put your baklava in the oven start making your syrup. When you combine the two, one of them needs to be hot, I find it better when the baklava is hot and the syrup has cooled

    Directions

    • Combine all ingredients in a medium pot over medium high heat. Stir occasionally until sugar has dissolved
    • Boil for 10 minutes, stir occasionally.
    • Once boiled for 10 minutes remove from heat and strain cinnamon stick and lemon, allow to cool as baklava cooks

    Ingredients for the Filling:

    • 1 (5-inch/125mm piece) cinnamon stick, broken into 2 to 3 pieces or 2 teaspoons (10 ml) (8 gm) ground cinnamon
    • 15 to 20 whole allspice berries ( I just used a few pinches)
    • 3/4 cup (180 ml) (170 gm/6 oz) blanched almonds
    • 3/4 cup (180 ml) (155 gm/5½ oz) raw or roasted walnuts
    • 3/4 cup (180 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) raw or roasted pistachios
    • 2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm/ 5 1/3 oz) sugar
    • phyllo dough (see recipe above)
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) (240 ml) (225g/8 oz) melted butter ** I did not need this much, less then half**

    Directions:

    • Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
    • Combine nuts, sugar and spices in a food processor and pulse on high until finely chopped. If you do not have a food processor chop with a sharp knife as fine as you can. Set aside
    • Trim your phyllo sheets to fit in your pan
    • Brush bottom of pan with butter and place first phyllo sheet
    • Brush the first phyllo sheet with butter and repeat approximately 5 times ending with butter. (Most recipes say more, but homemade phyllo is thicker so it’s not needed)
    • Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
    • Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 4 times
    • Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
    • Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 4 times
    • Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
    • Continue layering and buttering phyllo 5 more times. On the top layer, make sure you have a piece of phyllo with no holes if possible, just looks better.
    • Once you have applied the top layer tuck in all the edges to give a nice appearance.
    • With a Sharp knife cut your baklava in desired shapes and number of pieces. If you can’t cut all the ways through don’t worry you will cut again later. A 9×9 pan cuts nicely into 30 pieces. Then brush with a generous layer of butter making sure to cover every area and edge
    • Bake for approximately 30 minutes; remove from oven and cut again this time all the way through. Continue baking for another 30 minutes. (Oven temperatures will vary, you are looking for the top to be a golden brown, take close watch yours may need more or less time in the oven)
    • When baklava is cooked remove from oven and pour the cooled (will still be warmish) syrup evenly over the top, taking care to cover all surfaces when pouring. It looks like it is a lot but over night the syrup will soak into the baklava creating a beautifully sweet and wonderfully textured baklava!
    • Allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled cover and store at room temperature. Allow the baklava to sit overnight to absorb the syrup.
    • Serve at room temperature

    Freezing/Storage Instructions/Tips:

    There are a few ways to store your Baklava. It is recommended that you store your baklava at room temperature in an airtight container. Stored at room temperature your baklava will last for up to 2 weeks. You will notice as the days pass it will get a little juicier and chewier. You may choose to store it in the fridge; this will make it a little harder and chewy, but does increase the shelf life. You can also freeze your baklava and then just set it out at room temperature to thaw.

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    • Cyrus 7:22 pm on February 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Great info. Lucky me I discovered your website by accident (stumbleupon).
      I’ve book-marked it for later!

    • understand 8:32 pm on April 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Good day! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted
      to give a quick shout out and tell you I really
      enjoy reading through your blog posts. Can you suggest any
      other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same subjects?
      Thanks a lot!

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on June 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: capers, grilled, potato salad, red pepper   

    Daring Cooks 26th Challenge: Healthy potato salad 

    Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!

    After the gumbo recipe, this was a nice and simple challenge. Easy on the pocketbook too.

    Better yet, I checked this challenge prior to the Memorial Day weekend in the U.S., meaning, grilling recipes flooded my inbox that week, many with great potato salad suggestions. I opted for the grilled potato salad recipe that came in the America’s Test Kitchen Friday e-newsletter. What I liked about it was that a) it was grilled, b) involved a vinaigrette instead of the usualmayonnaise/sour cream dressing, and c) had my favorite garnish: capers.

    I’m not sure if I’m allowed to copy the recipe from the ATK’s site, so I erred on the safe side and provided the link above. I don’t know how long it will be valid. The recipe is simple, pre-boil red potatoes, cut in 3/4″ planks, until soft on the perimeter but still firm in the middle, cool and toss in olive oil, salt and pepper. Cut a yellow onion in four, keeping the skin on. Cut and devein a red pepper in thick slices. Season and toss both onion and pepper in olive oil. Grilled the vegetables until done. Remove skin from onions, chop vegetable in chunks. Toss while still warm with a marinade made with a classic 3-1 ratio of oil and vinegar, minced garlic and chopped fresh parley. The recipe called for white vinegar. I will use red wine vinegar next time I make this recipe. Add one to two tablespoons of capers. Serve at room temperature.

     
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