Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry popular in Middle Eastern countries made of layers of phyllo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey.
Baklava is normally prepared in large pans. Many layers of filo dough, separated with melted butter are laid in the pan. A layer of chopped nuts—typically walnuts,pistachios or almonds is placed on top, then more layers of phyllo. Most recipes have multiple layers of phyllo and nuts, though some have only top and bottom pastry.
Greek version of baklava is made with 33 dough layers, referring to the years of Christ’s life.
How to cut it in diamond shape (4 steps)
Repeat the same procedure for all quarters
- 1 package phyllo dough
- 300 gr chopped nuts
- 200gr chopped almonds
- 300 gr butter
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon clove powder
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Ingredients or the syrup:
2 cup water
2 cup white sugar
1 orange peel
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup honey
- Preheat oven to 160° C. In a bowl, melt the butter .
- Butter the bottoms and sides of a 33×23 pan.
- Process the nuts until in small, even sized pieces. Combine with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves powder. Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough.Place a sheet of phyllo dough into the pan. Using a pastry brush, brush the phyllo sheet with melted butter. Repeat more times until you have 10 sheets layered.Sprinkle 2 – 3 tablespoons of nut/almond mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go.Continue to repeat the nut/almond mixture and two buttered sheets of phyllo until the nut mixture is all used up. The top layer should be about 10 sheets deep. With a cuisine scissors cut out all edges of phyllo.
- Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. Bake baklava for about 1 hour until the top is golden brown and crisp and the lower phyllo layers beneath the nut/almond mixture are thoroughly baked through. To test this, use a knife to lift up a corner of one of the pastry rectangles from the center of the pan so you can peek at the bottom layers . If the top starts to get too brown before the pastry is cooked through, lay a piece of foil over the top.
- .While baking, make the syrup.Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add orange peel, cinnamon sticks and honey. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon syrup it . Serve at room temperature.
Ingredients for the sauce :
- 1 bunch mint (chopped) 2 kg quality leg of lamb, salt
- 200 ml white wine vinegar
- 200 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 6 tbs brown sugar
Method: In a large bowl mix together all ingredients for the sauce ( chopped mint, vinegar, olive oil . brown sugar) Stir to combine.
Score the leg with a knife. With a pastry brush, rub part of the mint mixture all over the leg. Sprinkle all over with salt. Refrigerate for 1 hour to marinate.
Preheat oven to 200°C / 400°F . Roast for 1 hour – 1 h &15 min for a mediun rare.
Serve with the mint sauce and a fresh Merlot wine.
Cyprus bread is more than food, is a religious expression.
Different types of bread are traditionally made for different occasions, weddings , easter , Christmas, communions, baptism.
Dr. Dorita Voskaridou is a researcher, author and founder of the Decorated Breads of Cyprus museum in Limassol.
Dorita’s book “To Ploumisto Psomi tis Kyprou” (The Decorated Bread of Cyprus) is a collection of historical and personal testimonies. Decorative breads for every occasion, based on various village designs have been re-worked by this talented lady.
“All the symbols came from the ancient times when people used to believe in 12 gods. There are symbols from ancient Greek pots. From excavations we then find the same symbols in bread.
There were Byzantine shapes and influences. Women in villages see icons of churches which inspire them to go home and make the bread. Every village has different kinds of symbols and every woman has a different, very personal style, for example one village may have the same symbol but each woman makes something different. Every woman has her own aesthetic.
Bread is the king of the house in Cyprus proverbs. It is very important still and is the main nutritional ingredient in our culture. In Cyprus’ popular traditions, bread on the table symbolised Jesus Christ himself. So nobody gets up from the table until the bread has been removed. The bread has to move first away from table,” says Dorita Voskaridou
I tried to reproduce one of these ancient and full of tradition shapes. I have no idea if it is a wedding, communion or easter bread. I choose it for the presence of the cross and the X of Xrist. (Χριστος in Greek language). So i think perfect for Xristmas.
Follow the instructions step by step. You will need 33 dough cords and a good amount of sesame seeds. Isn’t difficult as appears. Crunchy texture , delicate flavor. Enjoy a Merry Xristmas!
- 500 bread flour
- 250ml warm water
- 1/2 tablespoon dried yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- In a large bowl combine flour, olive oil, yeast and sugar. Add the water & salt. Mix well
- Knead the dough until is smooth and elastic. ( If the dough seems a little stiff add 1-2 tbsp water)
- Place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Leave to rise for 1 hour
- Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knock back the dough by gently kneading just few min. You only want to knock out any large air bubbles
- Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Now mould the dough into a 33 thin cords as in the pictures. Follow carefully the step by step instructions. Seal ends by pressing down firmly with your fingertips. Brushing with water, then sprinkling with sesame seeds
- Heat oven to 180°C / 350°
- Bake for 25-30 mins until golden