This baklava recipe is fantastic, and simpler than I thought it would be. If you have had baklava and you loved it then definitely make it. I honestly believe this is the best baklava I have ever had. If you never tried baklava, I, again, suggest that you make it. You will be in for a real treat. And mille grazies to Rob's aunt for getting Rob this recipe. I planned on making it again when my parents came for Easter, but my husband has requested that I make it earlier than that. That is saying a lot when we still have a little bit left.
Rob's Aunt's Baklava (courtesy of Rob Callas)
1lb phyllo dough, defrosted (make sure you don't be like me and forget to defrost the phyllo, it takes about 1.5-2 hours)
2lb chopped walnuts
1 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp cloves ( this wasn't in the original recipe, I added it. So if you don't have ground cloves it isn't a big deal)
1lb sweet butter, melted (I told you this wasn't dietetic, Paula Deen would be proud)
2 C water
2 C sugar
1.5 C honey
- Mix walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cloves in a bowl. Set aside
- Spray a 13 x 9 in casserole dish with pam. Lay a 4 sheets of phyllo and brush each sheet with butter.
- After every 4 sheets, sprinkle walnut mixture.
- Continue til you use all he phyllo dough.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cut phyllo into squares (traditional Turkish presentation) or diamonds (traditional Greek presentation). Bake baklava for 1.5 hours or til brown on top.
- Once done baking allow to cool, with my baklava there was still liquid butter on the sides of the casserole, the baklava will reabsorb the butter)
- To make the syrup, in a heavy bottom pot add water sugar and honey. Bring to boil and then drop to simmer for about 10 minutes til sugar is dissolved and it forms a thin syrup.
- Pour over baklava and serve.
Kofte are those amazing turkish meatballs. My husband absolutely loved my version, I still think Troy's were better but no matter what, I will definitely make them again. My mom loves my middle eastern fare (she says I make a killer homemade falafel) so I think I will be testing these out on her when she and my dad come to visit.
Kofte (modified from http://www.yogurtland.com/2005/04/03/kofte/)
1.5 lbs ground beef ( I used 93% lean)
1 bunch of parsely, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2-5 cloves of garlic ( they said to add more garlic if you like it and that's exactly what I did, but if you aren't a fan I am sure 2 will be fine)
1.5 C bread crumbs
1/4 C olive oil
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili pepper paste
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp harissa (if you are lucky enough to find it)
s&p to taste
- Mix all ingredients, adding bread crumb 1/2 C at a time til the mixture is workable, but not sticky or tough. (the original recipe called for 2.5 C of bread crumbs but I found 1.5 C sufficient). I use my hands to mix but a stand mixer will do the job for you if you would like.
- Preheat an electric griddle to 350 degrees (or you can use a frying pan). Drizzle with olive oil and fry for 3-4 minutes per side, until cooked.
- Serve with tzatziki and pita bread for a simple dinner.
Tzatziki Sauce (pictured above)
1 C plain yogurt
2 tsp of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 medium cucumber, diced (I like chunks of cucumber, but you can dice it to your pleasing)
1 tsp cumin
1-3 tsp of lemon juice, to taste
s&p to taste.
- In a storage bowl, mix all ingredients til well incorporated.
- Let sit in refrigerator for 3-4 hours to marinate. Taste to see if any flavor needs to be adjusted..
- Use as condiment for falafel, kofte etc.