Sunday, September 5, 2010

Elusive Addiction

Recipe: Baklava

August was such a busy month with so many things happening and loads of work, it was impossible to even think about blogging.

I’m back and I am so happy to bring you my favourite sweet of all times. According to me, it should be declared “the king of sweets” – it is the Baklava.





Growing up in the Middle-east, I was always fascinated with Middle-eastern foods - especially their grilled meat, fresh salads, hummous, shawarma, baklava, etc. Baklava used to be a regular at our house during parties and get-togethers. No celebration was complete without it.

After coming back to India, I have missed the baklava and the shawarma the most. We do find a poor replica of the shawarma in Bangalore and Kerala. It is not even close to the actual Arabic Shawarma but at least there is something. The baklava, however, was impossible to find. Whenever family or friends from the Middle-east visited us and if ever anyone dared to ask me if I wanted anything from there, the baklava and the shawarma would top my list (and chocolates, of course!). And those kind people brought those delicacies for poor (baklava-and-shawarma-starved) me all the way from the middle-east.

Ever since my parents gifted me an oven (they know I love to bake), I’ve been trying to find recipes to make baklava at home. All the baklava recipes that I looked at, needed store-bought phyllo dough. And I couldn’t find phyllo dough anywhere here in the stores of Bangalore (What a tragedy for a baklava-addict!). I started to feel envious of all the people who had easy access to phyllo dough.


And then one day, as I was browsing through food blogs, I landed upon Farida’s beautiful blog. It was so interesting that I started going through her previous posts. And there it was – a post about home-made baklava that does not require the store-bought phyllo dough. Woohoo!

I was kind of hesitant to try it out at first. In the back of my mind, I had considered Baklava so exotic that it couldn’t come out of my kitchen. I finally mustered up enough courage to try it out last week and I’m so glad I did.

The baklava was truly sensational! It was different from the baklava made with phyllo dough but it was equally wonderful. In fact, we found it difficult to stop eating them.

I mostly followed her recipe exactly except for a few changes in ingredients. I used almonds instead of walnuts as my son is allergic to walnuts. I also reduced the amount of sugar. I normally do that for all recipes that use sugar, as my family is not too fond of overly sweet stuff. I also added vanilla essence as I wanted to avoid any eggy smells from the finished product. Probably next time, I’ll use cardamom and rose-water instead of the vanilla essence for a more authentic taste.





So here’s the recipe, with my changes and substitutions as some things like sour cream are not easy to find here. I also used vanilla essence due to the extreme nature of eggy-smell-o-phobia in my house :)

BAKLAVA
Adapted from Farida's recipe for easy baklava. To check out her recipe click here.

Ingredients:

DOUGH:
3 cups all purpose flour
250g butter (I prefer to use salted butter)
Fresh Cream - 1 cup (I used Amul fresh cream 25% fat)
Curd - 1tsp
1 tsp baking soda
2 egg yolks

FILLING:
1 ½ cups sugar (I powdered the sugar)
2 egg whites
2 ½ cups almonds crushed/chopped (I just crushed the nuts with my pestle)
1 tsp vanilla essence

To brush:
1 egg yolk

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Mix the fresh cream with 1 tsp of curd and keep at room temperature for an hour.

Mix the flour and butter with your fingertips such that is resembles crumbs.

Mix the cream and curd mixture and the baking soda and pour it into the butter-flour mixture. Mix well. Then add the egg yolks and mix till the dough comes together.

Divide the dough into 3 parts and place them in the refrigerator for an hour.

Prepare the filling in the meantime.
Beat the egg-whites and the powdered sugar till combined well and fluffy. Then add the vanilla essence and crushed almonds.

Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and lightly butter it. I used a 12 inch round baking tray.

Roll out the balls of baklava dough into the shape of your baking tray so that it is about 3mm thick. Use flour if the dough is too sticky to roll out.

Place the first sheet of dough and press into the baking tray. If there are tears, mend them with a ball of dough pressed on it and smoothened. Spread half of the filling on the first layer. Place the second layer of rolled out dough and spread the remaining of the filling on it evenly. And then place the third layer of rolled out dough. Brush with a beaten egg yolk. Cut into diamond shapes. And set it to bake for 35 minutes till it is golden brown. Here's a picture just before the baking.




The result was yummy and juicy with just the right amount of sweetness and the heavenly smell of vanilla with every bite. I must say that this was definitely an easy recipe as Farida has mentioned. Thanks Farida for sharing this wonderful recipe.





19 comments:

  1. “the king of sweets” – it is the Baklava
    I am coming to B'lore for Baklava ;)

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  2. “the king of sweets” – it is the Baklava
    Need it next time i come to B'lore :)

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  3. Sure thing, Gokul :) let me know when u r coming ...

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  4. i've had this here and i agree u cant get the same thing either the grilled chicken or shawarma or kuboose or anything made here done exactly in india. the sweets esp. r out of this world. they r also more healthy thn indian food. BUT u cant replace those adyar sweets... and our spices make food more delicious than any in the world...

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  5. @Anju chechi: Yeah, very true... Indian spices, sweets, curries are world renown and exquisite in its own special way. In fact, the different cuisines around the world are truly fascinating and each one is a unique and interesting gastronomic journey.

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  6. reading your posts are hurtful. i get all wet in the mouth and in the end... there is no Baklava to eat either... i want it. i want it. and I'm quite near to your place too.

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  7. @Anoop: Cool.. when are u visiting?

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  8. You can use this too for the phyllo dough to come out thin http://chefinyou.com/2010/03/filo-phyllo-dough-recipe/

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  9. Thanks V.
    Will definitely try it out.

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  10. Oops, that was me Vidya :P It came out as V somehow.. hehe..

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  11. Hi Sarah, thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a lovely comment. Thank you for trying my baklava recipe. Love how yours looks! Reducing sugar is a great idea, I am going for it next time. Thanks for the tip! Keep up the good work on your blog!

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  12. Thanks for the wonderful recipe, Farida. My family loved it so much. Planning to make it again for Easter :)

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  13. Hi...
    In blore Baklava is served at many places...u cn find it at Star Bazaar near Forum...thr bakery mks industrial quantites of Baklava..Restos like SUnnys at Lavelle Rd and Indiranagar serve very gud Baklava..

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  14. Thank you for the information. I'll surely try them out when I get the time. Wish that baklava was as easily available as the shawarma.

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  15. Baklava!! You have no idea how much i miss it! We get a local/overly saccharine sweet version in Star bazaar here in Chennai and of course, in speciality restaurants, for which you got to pay through ur nose! But i still indulge once a way, cos i LOVE baklava! :) Thanks for posting. Makes me want to pucker up, shake off the apprehension and try making it :)

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  16. Baklava without the Phyllo .. Wat a unique recipe !! Love the way you have described it . I dont think there would be any one who doesnt love baklawa.. Truely said ''King of Sweets'' :D

    Happy to follow u :)

    Nupur.
    UK Rasoi

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  17. Wanted to try sm thing adventurous in kitchen over the weekend, it was brave decision, but it turn out quite well. Thanks for recipe and thanks for keeping it simple. Many of my friends liked it :)

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    Replies
    1. wow! u made baklava!!! then in my books u r an expert !!!! congrats Hark... And glad that ur friends liked it.

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