1.03.2011

Brown Sugar Baklava

Have you ever made filo/phyllo dough? Yeah, me either, in fact it was one of the reasons I felt compelled to never complete another Daring Bakers challenge, homemade filo in the beginning of summer? Who has that kind of time? Well, anyway I'm glad I didn't spend all that time making it then or now either, because my husband informed me AFTER I said I would make baklava for a dinner party that he doesn't like filo. Well color me shocked I didn't know that! And to boot, he doesn't like baklava.

Of course hearing those words made me decide, the man will like MY baklava. Game on husband. Baklava was my contribution to a good friend's Day One Party, with a Mediterranean theme. She was making 'special' main dish and everyone else needed to bring goodies to fill in. Yeah she cooked a main dish alright, check this bad boy out:



well yes that IS a Pigs Head, cooked, whole on a platter. I'll let that sink in......



Better now? Let's just say I'm so glad there was the best fresh made falafel ever and tons of other goodies to munch. I did try some of the pigs head, how could I not? Let me say that NOT a lot of it was left when the men got done with it. And well Jamey, the hostess, she was in there too. It was truly a great surprise to see her present this giant roasted pig head and an awesome way to kick off a new season of dinner parties. And to cap off the party Jamey and I teamed up as "Lamey" and got beat big time at Settlers of Catan, which may be the best game ever invented even when you lose.

Brown Sugar Baklava
you will need a spice grinder, food processor, pastry brush and clean water spray bottle
1 pound package of frozen filo dough-needs to thaw overnight
8 ounces butter, clarified-melt it and skim off the solids-EASY!
1 5 inch chunk of cinnamon stick
20 all spice berries
2/3 cup brown sugar
8 ounces pecans
8 ounces blanched almonds
1/4 cup of water in a spray bottle with a teaspoon of vanilla extract in it

syrup
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup honey
peel from a cutie or a nice big chunk of naval orange peel
about a 4 inch chunk of cinnamon stick


thaw filo overnight
clarify butter
break up the cinnamon stick and grind it in a spice grinder with the all spice berries
sift into the bowl of a food processor, getting out any really big chunks
add the sugar and nuts, pulse about 15 times then set aside
open the filo and trim to fit a 9x13 inch pan
brush the bottom and sides with the clarified butter
lay down 1 sheet of filo dough brush with butter
repeat 9 more times
spread on 1/3 of the nut mixture
spritz with the vanilla water
repeat with ten more sheets of filo with butter between each sheet
then another 1/3 of the nut mixture
repeat again using last of the nut mixture
top with the remaining filo sheets
brush well with butter and bake for 30 minutes at 350˚
remove from the oven and cut into 3x3 squares and cut each square into a triangle
bake again for another 30 minutes
while it finishes baking make the syrup
in a heavy 4 quart pan  heat the syrup ingredients together, stir occasionally to make sure the sugar
dissolves
bring to a boil, reduce heat and lightly boil for 10 minutes
set to cool for 2 hours
when the baklava has finished baking remove from the oven and cool for two hours also
then pour remove the cinnamon stick and the orange peel from the syrup
and pour it over the baklava
let it soak for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight before serving


There you go folks the perfect dessert to serve with a Roasted Pigs Head, or not.

Thanks Jamey for a great party, a great surprise and being a great friend! Here are 3 of the four ladies from the party out picking berries this summer, can't wait for another great summer of foraging and feasting.

Oh and he did like the baklava, score one for me!



Peace and Love--






Friday Firsts / DinnerAtChristinas.com

8 comments:

  1. The baklava looks delicious...the pigs head is the most gross thing I've ever seen on a dinner table! lol

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  2. Thank you, Laura, for the gift of this post. I will treasure it always. Also, your baklava rocked! It was the absolute perfect way to end our evening. Except, of course, how sticky it made the Settlers cards. LOL!

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  3. That's quite a pig on the table--a first for me! Looked like a god time :)

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  4. She did not; however, have any pig brains. The square!

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  5. Ok, I was totally unaware of this whole pig New Year's tradition until this year - I've seen the head, feet, and other odd pig parts pop up in the food blog world!

    I think I'd like to try the cheek meat - I hear it's delish! As for the eyes and brains and tongue I'd leave that for the men too!

    The brown sugar baklava sounds amazing! I love the taste of brown sugar. I've never worked with filo/phyllo dough! Maybe a future Friday First!?

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  6. I am one of those people who do not like to think about what they are eating. I like to try new things but please wait to tell me that what is on my plate is actually cow balls after the fact that I have eaten it. I have had some part of a pig once before at a cookout where they had a whole pig over the pit but I just took a piece that was given to me and didn't ask questions.

    That baklava looks so flaky and delicious. I have only had it once before at a family party and I have a recipe to make it home but just never think to make it. Yours is so much more complex than mine, so I am sure that it is 10x better. I will bookmark it and hopefully we have a function soon so that I can make this.

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  7. That pigs head look like its wearing a guacamole mud mask. ha!

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  8. Looking at the pig's head, I thought you cooked an Iceland food. They eat whole animal heads. Looks great.

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