Cooking class: Lebanese baklawa

A step-by-step guide to making baklawa, the flowerlike individual Lebanese version of Greek baklava.

By The Canadian Living Test Kitchen

Baklawa step-by-step
Baklawa
Photography by David Scott
Eid-ul-Fitr is a time for rejoicing and celebrating the end of Ramadan. As part of this Islamic celebration, many sweets are served. Baklawa, the flowerlike individual Lebanese version of Greek baklava, contains pistachios, rose water and orange blossom water, all available at specialty and Middle Eastern food stores.


Ingredients:
3/4 cup (175 mL) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 cups (500 mL) each walnuts and shelled pistachios
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each ground cardamom and cinnamon
2 egg whites
1 tsp (5 mL) rose water
16 sheets phyllo pastry
Syrup:
2 cups (500 mL) granulated sugar
1 cup (250 mL) water
1 tsp (5 mL) lemon juice
1 tsp (5 mL) orange blossom water
1 tsp (5 mL) rose water
Garnish:
3 tbsp (50 mL) finely chopped pistachios

Preparation:
1. Syrup: In saucepan, dissolve sugar in water over medium heat. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer until syrupy, about 10 minutes. Add lemon juice, orange blossom water and rose water; let cool.



2.
Meanwhile, in small saucepan, melt butter over low heat until white milky liquid sinks to bottom. Pour clear melted clarified butter into bowl, leaving milky liquid in pan. Set aside.

3. In food processor, pulse together walnuts, pistachios, sugar, cardamom and cinnamon about 4 times or until in coarse crumbs. In bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold in nut mixture and rose water. Set aside.



4. Grease two 9-inch (1.5 L) round metal cake pans; set aside. Place 1 sheet of the phyllo on work surface, keeping remainder covered with damp towel to prevent drying out. Brush with butter; top with second sheet and butter top. Repeat 3 more times to form stack of 8 sheets.



5. Cut phyllo stack into 20 squares. Place heaping 1 tbsp (15 mL) filling in centre of each. Bring up corners of phyllo and gently squeeze sides. Place in prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying out. Repeat with remaining phyllo and filling to fill both pans.



6. Bake in centre of 350°F (180°C) oven until golden and crisp, about 45 minutes. Pour all but 2 tbsp (25 mL) of the syrup over top. Let cool on rack. (Make-ahead: Cover and set aside for up to 24 hours.) Warm reserved syrup; brush over filling and phyllo.

Garnish: Sprinkle filling with chopped pistachios.

Step-by-step photography by Christopher Campbell

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Source:
Canadian Living Magazine: October 2006

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