Introduction: Baklava's Best Friend
I love baklava and I've been dying to make it since I tried it about a year ago. About a week ago I ordered some rose water and I know most recipes don't call for rose water but I decided to hold out until it arrived. In the meantime, I have about 4 boxes of phyllo dough in my freezer and I'm always itching to experiment.
Normally baklava is not refrigerated but in this case it will need to be because of the whipped cream on top. What I've read about baklava is that it won't get too soggy because of the lack of water and that if you hope to put it in the fridge there had better not be any water or it will get soggy. In this recipe I wanted to make something with berries really bad but I was afraid of the water content. This is why I simmered them for so long - to remove the water so that the finished product won't be ruined during refrigeration.
I made this recipe at ~ 8500' in elevation. It may take you less time to reduce your berries and make the sweet syrup.
One last note - this was completely experimental. I was making the instructable as I made the dish. On the late step I've got notes on how it tasted, the texture, and how I think you might want to improve the recipe. The recipe by itself is still pretty darn good though. Also, please don't judge this based on the pictures. The lighting in my rental house is awful :(
I hope you enjoy the recipe!
**EDIT** I made this again and I would now try using a pan that is slightly longer and wider than the phyllo dough sheets. That way the syrup falls down the sides and gets into the phyllo layers. I'd say this makes the recipe perfect :)
Step 1: Ingredients
The ingredients listed below are exactly how I made the recipe. There is a note or two on how you could change it to make your life easier. Also, there is vanilla extract in the photo but I ended up not using it.
Phyllo Dough Base
1/2 lb of Phyllo dough
1/2 c. of butter, melted
2 c. walnuts, chopped finely (or coarsely if you prefer)
4 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1-10oz bag of frozen berries (you could probably do fresh if you wanted. This was just what I had)
2 small packages of fresh blackberries
1/4 c. sugar
1 tbsp. of lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 c. water*
1 c. sugar
1 stick of cinnamon
* You might try and halve the amount of water. It took FOREVER (40 minutes) to simmer this down to syrup.
3 c. whipping cream
3/4 c. sugar
** This is an awesome way to make sweet whipped cream for almost any recipe. You could definitely make this to put on pies or other desserts. Also, you could probably do just fine with only 2 cups of whipping cream (if you reduce the amount reduce the sugar to 1/2 c.)
*** Please not that I did not end up using the vanilla extract that you see in the picture.
Step 2: Walnut Mix
This will go into the middle of the phyllo dough base.
1. Chop up your walnuts
2. Throw them into a bowl and add sugar and cinnamon
3. Mix thoroughly. I tried to use a spoon but I found my hands were much better at keeping all the sugar from falling to the bottom.
4. Put aside.
Step 3: Making the Phyllo Dough Base
5. Melt your butter
6. Lightly brush some butter to the bottom of your pan (I used 12x8'')
7. Place a sheet of phyllo dough on top of the buttered pan.
8. Lightly brush butter on all surfaces of your phyllo dough sheet.
9. Repeat steps 7-8 more than 3 times. I think I put about 10 phyllo sheets down.
I think I used a 12x8'' pan. The dough sheets had a slightly larger surface area than the bottom of my pan so I just bend down the edges and made sure to butter them too
Step 4: Walnut Layer
10. Pour the walnut mix on top of your layered phyllo dough.
11. Place a phyllo sheet on top of the walnut layer.
12. Butter phyllo sheet and repeat steps 7-8 until the rest of your dough is used up. I didn't push down the edges of the phyllo dough that was above the walnut center. I thought this might hold the berries better (like a cup).
Step 5: Baking the Base
13. Preheat oven at 325o
14. Bake 30 minutes
15. Increase temperature to 350o and bake another 10 minutes or until golden
16. Remove from oven and let cool.
Step 6: Berry Spread
17. Squish berries together and add sugar. Place berries in saucepan with sugar and lemon juice.
18. Simmer ~ 1 hr or until most of the water has evaporated and the viscosity has increased. Make sure you stir occasionally especially during the last 15 - 30 minutes of the simmer. You don't want the berries burning to the bottom.*
19. Once they are done pour them into a cool bowl and set aside.
* Also, do not cook them in a pan with anything oxidized on the bottom. My boyfriend burned something in my pan (CURSE YOU POT RUINER!!!!!!! YOU HAVE TAKEN THE LIVES OF FAR TOO MANY POTS, PANS, AND COOKIE SHEETS!!!!!!!!) and we couldn't remove the oxidized stuff. It magically disappeared while I was simmering the berries. After seeing this note my boyfriend has asked me to tell you that he ruined my double boiler while trying to make rice for our dinner because I destroyed our rice cooker by accident. Whatever.
Step 7: Sweet Syrup
20. Put sugar, cinnamon stick, and water in a saucepan.
21. Simmer ~ 40 minutes or until it has the consistency of syrup. I took the cinnamon stick out about 10 minutes in so that the spice would not be overpowering.
Step 8: Whipped Cream and Construction
22. Pour your whipping cream into a bowl and add sugar.
23. Use a beater to whip up the cream and sugar. This should only take a couple minutes at the most. Once it's nice and thick and holds its shape set it aside.
24. Pour sweet syrup over baked phyllo dough base
24. Smooth berry spread over phyllo dough base
25. Smooth whipped cream over phyllo dough base
26. Slice up and enjoy!
Step 9: Eating and Comments
Now that my recipe is made I can show you a picture and describe it to you.
As you may see, the bottom (phyllo base) is dry and doesn't stick together. I believe this is because I forgot an essential part to making baklava. I think that if you make the syrup first and put it between a few layers it will not only help it hold together but the sweet flavor will be in more than just the top fruity layer. Even though it is dry, when you take a bite of it with the top including the berry spread, syrup, and whipped cream it is AWESOME!!!
The berries seem to have a perfect tartness and sweetness. I wouldn't change the berry spread. Maybe you could make double the berry spread and put a layer of it on top of the walnuts? OH MY GOSH NO! You could mix the walnuts WITH some of the berry spread!
Please, if you try this recipe and alter it for the better please share what you have done!
Thank you :)