My big fat Greek baklava
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 (My choice is always the Greek award winning dairy products of “Flegga” Company. This specific butter gives not only a delicious fragrance but another dimension of taste to all dishes, sweets and savoury)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon clove powder
- 1/2 teaspoon nut
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.
Melomakarona are traditional Greek Christmas cookies. Typical ingredients of these biscuits are flour or semolina, sugar, orange fresh juice, cognac (or similar beverage), cinnamon and olive oil. Immediately after baking, they are immersed for a few seconds in cold syrup made of honey, sugar, dissolved in water. Finally, they are decorated with ground, as well as bigger pieces of walnut.
The word “melomakarona” is a combination of the two Greek words: “mèli” which means honey and “makàrona” which comes from the ancient word “makaria” and means “blessed”
For the 1st mixture:
400 ml orange juice
400 ml vegetable oil
180 ml olive oil
1/2 tsp clove
2-3 tsp cinnamon
zest of 2 oranges
For the 2nd Mixture:
1 kg flour
1 tsp baking soda
- 50 g icing sugar
For the syrup:
- 500 g water
- 800 g granulated sugar
- 150 g honey
- 3 stick(s) cinnamon
- 3 cloves
- 1 orange, cut in half
- Boil the ingredients for the syrup 2-3 hours before you start making the melomakarona so that there is enough time for the syrup to cool.
1. Boil all of the ingredients for the syrup, apart from honey, until sugar melts. Remove from heat. Add the honey and mix till combined.
- let syrup cool for 2 – 3 hours. It must be cold by the time the cookies come out from the oven.
- You can prepare the syrup from the day before.
2.Preheat the oven to 190° C (370*F)
To make the cookies, you need to prepare 2 separate mixtures.
4.Add the ingredients of mixture 2 and mix softly for a little while, just until the flour is fully incorporated in the rest of the mix. Be careful not to overwork the cookie dough because the oil may start to seep out and then they won’t turn out crispy.
6.Bake at 190°C for about 20-25 minutes until they are crispy.
7.As soon as you remove them from the oven, soak the hot cookies in the cold syrup for 20-30 seconds.
8.Allow them to drain on a wire rack.
9.Drizzle with honey and chopped walnuts.