Baklava, an authentic Greek dessert27-05-2015 12:48Crispy, nutty and extra syrupy! Baklava is a delicious traditional Greek dessert made of layers of crispy golden brown phyllo, filled with chopped nuts and garnished with lemon scented syrup… Just heaven! This is a very easy to follow Baklava recipe for you to recreate this traditional sweet delight from scratch.
The traditional Greek Baklava recipe has its roots in ancient Greece, where they made the ‘gastrin’, a sweet very similar to the current baklava. Baklava is an extra syrupy Greek dessert which falls under the category of ‘Siropiasta’. Syrupy Greek desserts (‘Siropiasta’) are very popular among Greek cuisine and with good reason! From extra syrupy cakes like portokalopita, karidopita or giaourtopita to traditional Greek pastry desserts, like kataifi or galaktoboureko and of course this famous traditional Greek baklava dessert. One thing all these Greek desserts have in common is of course the moist of scented syrup, which makes each one just irresistible!
After a lot of experimenting, we have distilled the essence of this delightful dish to a few easy to follow steps for you to make the very best, traditional baklava with little to no effort. This traditional baklava recipe can be summarised in three key stages: Preparing the nut-y filling, layering the filo sheets and preparing the scented syrup. For the filling of the baklava, my personal favourite is walnuts mixed with pistachios. In Central Greece baklava is made using only almonds, in Pelion with walnuts and northern Greece with pistachio. So feel free to experiment with whatever suits your taste.
The key for the most flavourful Baklava is to use a good quality fresh butter to butter the phyllo sheets. The authentic Greek Baklava recipe calls for ‘galaktos’ butter made from a mix of sheep’s and goat’s milk, but if you can’t handle its very strong flavour, then you can substitute with good quality fresh butter from cow’s milk. When preparing phyllo based desserts, like this Baklava recipe, a little trick to make the phyllo crispier and flakier is to sprinkle the melted butter over the phyllo sheets, rather than brushing them. I always prefer to use fresh filo (phyllo) sheets as it saves time defrosting them, but if you choose to prepare this Baklava recipe with frozen phyllo, it is important to thaw it completely by putting it in the fridge from the previous day. Working with phyllo can be tricky as it’s brittle and can dry out very quickly, so once start preparing this Baklava recipe, make sure you have a cleared out working surface, large enough to spread the filo sheets and minimise the time that they are exposed to the dry air. (Check the handling tips before start preparing this Baklava recipe.)
To achieve the perfect texture for the syrup of your Baklava, you should never blend or stir the syrup, while it is boiling, or else it will become lumpy. Just let the sugar dissolve in the hot water and boil for 2 minutes to make the syrup nice and thick. For the perfect Baklava: crispy phyllo and right syrup-ing go together! To accomplish this cut the Baklava in pieces before baking it and make sure both the syrup and the baklava are hot. Always laddle really slowly the syrup over the hot Baklava, enabling each ladle to be absorbed, so that the syrup is absorbed evenly. Even though it will be really hard.. you should wait for the Baklava to cool down completely before serving.
So go ahead, give this super easy baklava recipe a try and let everyone think you are a master chef!
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Like a relay race of three generations; a journey with happy days, sad days, joys, sorrows, wars, Occupation, poverty, hunger, deaths, volcanic eruptions, catastrophic earthquakes, flee for a better life, return, better days, feasts, tourism explosion, financial crises and so on… Everything has been indelibly inscribed on the walls of this small building, Aktaion. I feel grateful that life has given me the opportunity to hold the reins of Aktaion all the way to its centennial.
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