Saturday, June 18, 2011

Weekend Cooking...A Study in Baklava

I like Baklava as much as the next person. It is something I have eaten from time to time, but not necessarily something I seek out. But in Turkey, in Greece, you are surrounded by the dessert. So, of course, I felt compelled to do a bit of an investigation, to seek out the best. I only did it for you, my dear readers. Really.

Did I find it?

Well, I am not sure it is the world's best, but it was the best we tasted.
When we were in Istanbul, we hired a private guide. She took us to a place that sold rugs (oh, that is another story...), the Grand Bazaar, the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia...and her favorite baklava bakery, where she bought us several different varieties to try. They were excellent, tender and delicious, sweet and not overly syrupy. And maybe eating them as we negotiated the streets of exotic Istanbul helped the flavor.

They were not the only good baklava we tasted.
In fact, they were all good.
But the other that sticks in my mind is the one we had after dinner at a harbor side taverna on the Greek island of Mykanos. We had had some excellent appetizers, some grilled meat, a wonderful patter of grilled shrimp, squid and a whole fish and then ended with the rather unusual rolled baklava you can see pictured below. Delicious..but rather labor intensive looking.

Again, I may have been influenced by the location. A couple of beers, overlooking the beautiful harbor, whitewashed buildings, cobblestone streets, children playing at the edge of the blue Aegean Sea. Yes, it may have, but I still think it was delicious.

I have not made any baklava since I have been home. It might have something to do with the fact that yesterday was the first day that I have been off work since I have returned home. But I will leave you with a recipe that sounds pretty easy, a recipe that I got from the Culinary Arts Center on our cruise ship. Of course the chef had that completed one the shelf under the counter to take out and share at the end of the lesson..delicious.


  •  1 of phyllo dough, thawed
  • 6 oz. pistachio nuts
  • 6 oz. pecan
  • 6 oz. walnuts
  • 4 oz. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 4 oz. water
  • 3 oz. honey
  • 2 oz. orange juice

Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan and preheat oven to 350F

Combine nuts and grind.
Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves and orange zest.
Boil honey and sugar mixture then add orange juice.
With about 1/3 of this sugar syrup, bind the nuts.

Layer 12 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing butter between each sheet.
Spread the nuts mixture on the top sheet then top with another 12 sheets of phyllo, again brushed with butter between each sheet.

Refrigerate, then cut the top into individual portions. (yes, before you bake it)
Bake at 350F degrees until golden brown, about 30-40 minutes.

Pour the remaining syrup over the hot baklava, cool completely, re-cut and serve.

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. I've always found baklava a little too sweet for my tastes and it looks very labor intensive to make. However, the varieties you tried may have been different than what I've eaten. Love the look of the restaurant on Mykonos.

    Changing the subject, have you read any of Jeffrey Siger's mysteries set in Mykonos? Seems like such an exotic location. :-)

  2. oh, just what I need...another mystery
    Of course, I am off to check it out!

  3. I've only had this dessert a few times but thought it was too sticky for me. Tasty, just sticky. I hope you have more photos from Greece for us!

  4. hundreds....hundreds....slowly to be revealed on Wordless Wednesdays.

  5. hey, thanks for the investigation, I can just taste it! But I have a friend who makes the best, or so she says, but I am always willing to try others, I love baklava! Looking forward to more stories and pics of your trip!

  6. I too have a friend who makes baklava, her's is the only baklava I've eaten, but I must say I love it, but then I have a sweet tooth.

  7. What a beautiful photo! So clear. Really wonderful. I could easily go on a baklava tour. Some people say it is too sweet. I've yet to meet a food that was too sweet! I have a recipe that isn't too hard, and it is really delicious. Here it is, if you want to see it:

    Hey, you actually left a comment on the post!

  8. A trip centered around food - You are my kind of traveler. I can see going to Greece for the baklava. Your pictures are beautiful, as usual. I look forward to more.

  9. I am not a big baklava lover myself. I think the reason we usually never make those dishes at home is because they are connected to a different world and only taste really good when eaten there and then.

  10. Oh, the sacrifices you make for your readers. The best baklava I've ever had was made by a high school student from Egypt. She went to school with my son and made it for the chaperone's room at the math tournament every year. That stuff got inhaled in a matter of seconds.

  11. nan..yes I did! the first comment, in fact..and I am yet to make my baklava. but I will!

  12. Sounds like a yummy trip! Location really does make a difference, doesn't it?

  13. that rolled version looks very cool. I haven't make baklava in ages. I love it and would have gladly made the sacrifice right along with you.

    What a great trip. Can't wait to see more and more photos.

  14. Hi!
    Never had this before but it sounds heavenly. Thanks for stopping by my place. Have a great day!

    Just Books

  15. I'm signing up with Nan for the baklava tour. I've not met one that my tastebuds didn't like. If it's too sweet, more greek coffee.

  16. After seeing this dessert I think I'll die if I couldn't try this. Also in baklava you'll find different kind of menu like baklava pistachio is the best for its taste. And I'm suggesting this one because whenever I tried this dessert I just become amazed for having this.


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