Monday, June 27, 2011

June Daring Bakers: Baklava!


Mandatory blog-checking lines:  Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.

Another month went by?  Really? I guess from looking around the garden I should realize that time's been passing.  A lot has happened in the past month, the good and the bad, births and deaths, unions and breaks, and the three of us are just holding tight to one another and desperately hoping that the quantity of "things happen" will abate. 

But really, STARTING NOW, I'm back!  I really mean it this time!  I'm back!

Erica blew my mind totally out of the water this month with her Daring Bakers Challenge to us.  First I saw "baklava."  Cool!  I can do that!  Been doing that for years!  I get a break this month--woot! Then I saw "make your own phyllo."  Surely she jests?


So, this month I and my other Daring Baker cohorts learned the secrets to rolling out really thin pastry.  Really thin.  Thin enough to read a newspaper through.  Chirp-chirp ran to get a section of paper for that particular test.  Did she bring me a headline? 


Tiny print.  However, with a bit of squinting and guesswork, we were indeed able to read the article in the paper.  I will admit to skipping the test on each and every subsequent layer of phyllo I rolled out.  But that first piece?  Oh yeah.  You could read through it.

The baklava was lots of fun.  So much so, that I made two batches.

The first batch was the traditional walnut and almond with honey syrup.  The honey, of course, came from our own little hive out back.  In fact, I was chickening out of the challenge, and mentioned this to the gals in the hive.  They retorted that if they could go through the effort of making honey, surely I could go through the effort of rolling out ridiculously thin pastry. Chagrined, I rose to the challenge.

The second batch was the result of a discussion with the bolting patch of spinach.  "Surely," the spinach plants as tall as my waist said," if we're able to devote the energy to this skyscraper (in spinach terms) height, you can devote the energy to roll out more of that ridiculously thin dough."  So, re-chagrined, I did.  Accompanying the spinach in the second batch, were some onions, pine nuts, and feta. 

Cheesy green baklava might now sound appetizing, but spanakopita does, right?  And, oh yeah baby, it was gooooood.

And see those flakes on the bottom of the pan? You can read through them. Oh yeah!

To learn to make phyllo yourself,  check out these great directions given to us by Erica.  Do it!