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For a 16x24 inch pan:

2 1lb Packages of Fillo dough

4 sticks butter

3 sticks margarine

5 C walnuts

1 1/2 C sugar

6 T blossom water

2 C simple syrup

For a 13x9 inch pan use half the recipe.

Grind walnuts in a food processor, mix with sugar and blossom water and set aside.

Melt butter and margarine in a pan to allow salt and solids to settle.

Prepare syrup and set aside to cool.

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Ladle 1 cup of melted butter/margarine in bottom of baking pan.

Lay the contents of one Fillo dough box on top of butter all in one piece. You may have to trim the dough to fit the pan. No need to brush individual layers of dough with butter (what makes this recipe easy).

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Spread the walnut mixture evenly.

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Lay the contents of the other box of dough on top and cut with a sharp knife.

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Ladle the rest of the butter/margarine mixture on top (leaving the butter solids behind).

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Bake @ 350* F for about an hour till golden.

Immediately pour cooled syrup over the whole thing.

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Edited by ChefCrash (log)

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Wow! Just wow! Have you tried making other filo-based pastries and savory dishes the same way without brushing the layers with butter individually?

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I don't usually use this word, but that very first picture is GLORIOUS! Man, that looks good. I've never made baklava because it seemed like too much work, but your version looks very manageable. Thanks for posting it.

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Glorious pictures indeed, and thanks for posting this. I occasionally make baklava the old-fashioned way, but easy baklava sounds dangerous! I hope you don't mind a few questions:

1. How does the taste/texture compare to baklava made by the traditional brush-butter-on-each-sheet method?

2. Why use a mixture of margarine and butter rather than just butter?

By the way, boiling the syrup with cinnamon, cloves, lemon zest, etc. makes for a particularly delicious baklava.

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Beautiful shot. Interesting technique. The recipe that got handed down to me puts half the box into the sheet pan with no layering, then the nut mixture, and then the other half of the box in the layer by layer method. Definitely will try your method. Thank you.

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I've always used this basic technique and people just rave about it. You should be dilligent to make sure a good amount of the butter seeps through the cuts so it can permeate the layers, but otherwise I think that the difference between this style and the traditional is negligable.

I also second the advice to steep flavorings in the syrup (mine is composed of a large amount of honey for the base). I like a combination of clove, cinnamon, orange slices, lemon slices, and anything else that combines well with that base.

Hrm... I wonder what a nice amount of black pepper in the syrup would be like... honey and pepper and mmmmmm


Edited by blurby (log)

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Holy cow I'm speechless. This can't be possible. do you think this would work for spanakpita also?

By the way, I use heated honey mixed with lemon juice for the syrup part. Sometimes a little orange blossom water too.

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Sacrilege! :blink:

Blasphemy! :shock:

Outrageous! :angry:

Ingenious! :hmmm:

Gotta try it. :biggrin:

SB (just don't let Grandma know :unsure: )

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Thank you all.

Wow! Just wow! Have you tried making other filo-based pastries and savory dishes the same way without brushing the layers with butter individually?

Sure Suzy, my sister in law makes Spinach pie the same way. Ahem.. a lot less butter.

Glorious pictures indeed, and thanks for posting this. I occasionally make baklava the old-fashioned way, but easy baklava sounds dangerous! I hope you don't mind a few questions:

1. How does the taste/texture compare to baklava made by the traditional brush-butter-on-each-sheet method?

2. Why use a mixture of margarine and butter rather than just butter?

By the way, boiling the syrup with cinnamon, cloves, lemon zest, etc. makes for a particularly delicious baklava.

1. I couldn't tell you. According to everyone I know in my family, this is how it's always been done (including pastry shops).

2. Non other than expense. Land O lakes butter $3.99, Land O Lakes margarine 99 cents.

As for the syrup, the typical M.E. syrup is made with sugar, water, rose water (or rose petals), blossom water and a touch of lemon juice.

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Nice! This looks/sounds good. There was a recipe for a "shortcut" baklava in a pastry book I read years ago. I can't remember the author other than he also has some bread books out. The recipe in his book that he proclaimed "really good" was horrible. It called for layering everything without butter then pouring vegetable oil over it all before baking. Supposedly you'd never miss the butter. I knew better but tried it anyway and it was awful. Surprised me that he even included it because most of the book was pretty good.

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Sacrilege!  :blink:

Blasphemy! :shock:

Outrageous! :angry:

Ingenious! :hmmm:

Gotta try it. :biggrin:

SB (just don't let Grandma know :unsure: )

Exactly! This I have to try. My Grandmother was not known for shortcuts.

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This is fascinating chef. I make my Baklawa the 'hard' way by brushing layers with butter, but this....I have to try and see the difference (using all butter of course since I believe that margarine is the work of the devil :smile:). It does look amazing, and I am craving one already, but do we end up using way more butter than the traditional method? I've never thought to measure how much butter I use, but it just seems like this method uses significantly more than the traditional method.

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Thanks FoodMan

This is fascinating chef. I make my Baklawa the 'hard' way by brushing layers with butter, but this....I have to try and see the difference (using all butter of course since I believe that margarine is the work of the devil :smile:). It does look amazing, and I am craving one already, but do we end up using way more butter than the traditional method? I've never thought to measure how much butter I use, but it just seems like this method uses significantly more than the traditional method.

Average recipes on line like this one and this one ask for one pound (4 sticks) of butter for one pound of fillo dough, this one requires two and a half pounds (10 sticks) per two pounds of fillo.

Since, in the recipe above, we start with 7 sticks and we leave behind all the deposited milk solids, we're actually maybe using 6 sticks of butter for 2 pounds of Fillo dough. Well below average. :smile:

I'm with you on the margarine..devil.. thing :raz: but you should really try Land O lakes brand.

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Nice! This looks/sounds good. There was a recipe for a "shortcut" baklava in a pastry book I read years ago. I can't remember the author other than he also has some bread books out. The recipe in his book that he proclaimed "really good" was horrible. It called for layering everything without butter then pouring vegetable oil over it all before baking. Supposedly you'd never miss the butter. I knew better but tried it anyway and it was awful. Surprised me that he even included it because most of the book was pretty good.

I remember this: it was in Bernard Clayton's book of pastries (can't remember the exact title). I like that book (the recipe for Danish is wonderful) and wondered about the baklava recipe - but didn't try it. So thanks for the report; I'll give that recipe a miss but might try Chef Crash's way using butter.

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Alright, I made it tonight. From start to oven was less than 20 minutes - with about 5 minutes wasted drinking wine. I used whole wheat sheets because I had them. I did 1/4 honey with my simple syrup. I used orange blossom instead of rose water because I didn't re-read the whole thread - that was okay. And my nuts got gooey, so I added some more that were less processed. Next time I would process the nuts, sugar and flavoring all at once instead of stages. I also just halved the recipe to keep my girlish figure.

Having never made baklava before I can't compare, but this was very fast and very easy. The taste is as good as any that I've had although I would definitely like to play with seasonings and nut combos in the future.

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Totally brilliant.

But. I think the pile-o'-filo then pile-o'-nuts then pile-o'-filo thing is Just Plain Wrong.

Nuts should be interspersed between each layer. Avoids the frisson-inducing feeling of biting through many layers of stacked filo. Makes for a much lighter, more delicate, more elegant pastry that sort of disintegrates between your teeth and collapses in your mouth instead of requiring effort (and for me, a wince) to bite through.

Even with the layered approach, though, doing the butter this way could save a good twenty or thirty minutes out of the 45 that assembly usually takes.

Even easier: just put all the butter on at the end, like you do with the syrup after baking?

Steve

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That's a gorgeous phyllo shot up top, Chefcrash. Phyllo is one of my least favorite things to work with, so I often make layers of 5-6 sheets which are inevitably stuck together anyway. So I think a compromise is possible, although I'm definitely going to try your way the next time I make baklava.

Too funny that Sparrowsfall, who in real life is aka Mr. Do Everything As Simply As Possible, is the one to defend the hard technique this time around!

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I agree that I could have just as easily added nuts to 3 or 4 layers and improved the final product. I still won't go every layer - the cost:benefit isn't there for me. And I do think the butter needs to be on the bottom to ensure that it has full coverage. Let's just say - the purists may want to spend more time on their baklava, but for the rest of us this technique means that we'll actually make the stuff.

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I made Gretchen's Baklava on Sunday night....had the first piece yesterday.  It is as good as our favorite Greek restaurant in Tarpon Springs, FL (which is a little Greek sponge diving village up the road from us).

http://myweb.cableone.net/gob/Recipes/BAKLAVA.HTM

The way I read Gretchen's recipe she butters each phyllo leaf (in the phtoto, also). It looks like a traditional Backlava recipe.

My most recent fantastic blaklava was Turkish pistachio baklava at Kalustyan's. Supposedly hand-made phyllo.

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A friend used to reduce half a gallon of 'apricot nectar' to a cup, then add that to honey syrup for baklava. It was very good.

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Alright, I made it tonight.  From start to oven was less than 20 minutes - with about 5 minutes wasted drinking wine.  I used whole wheat sheets because I had them.  I did 1/4 honey with my simple syrup.  I used orange blossom instead of rose water because I didn't re-read the whole thread - that was okay.  And my nuts got gooey, so I added some more that were less processed.  Next time I would process the nuts, sugar and flavoring all at once instead of stages.  I also just halved the recipe to keep my girlish figure.

Having never made baklava before I can't compare, but this was very fast and very easy.  The taste is as good as any that I've had although I would definitely like to play with seasonings and nut combos in the future. 

gallery_41282_4652_29150.jpg

gfron1, at first glance it looks like you applied the syrup before baking. Then I read about the wheat fillo. Never heard of it. I don't know how it bakes.

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...But. I think the pile-o'-filo then pile-o'-nuts then pile-o'-filo thing is Just Plain Wrong.

Nuts should be interspersed between each layer. Avoids the frisson-inducing feeling of biting through many layers of stacked filo. Makes for a much lighter, more delicate, more elegant pastry that sort of disintegrates between your teeth and collapses in your mouth instead of requiring effort (and for me, a wince) to bite through.

Even easier: just put all the butter on at the end, like you do with the syrup after baking?

Steve

Wow! Sounds real good. What do you call this dish?

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Totally brilliant.

But. I think the pile-o'-filo then pile-o'-nuts then pile-o'-filo thing is Just Plain Wrong.

...

Even easier: just put all the butter on at the end, like you do with the syrup after baking?

Steve

eeeewwwe! or some appropriate expression of disgust!

You must cook the butter on the filo dough.

Putting it on at the end would be like pouring butter onto flour (baked flour??) and calling that a pie crust.

Also the thick nut layer is a source of pride in a well made Baklava. The more nuts the better.

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Sparrowsfall will have to speak for themselves, but I think they meant pour all the butter on the baklava (pre bake) just like what you do with the sugar (post bake), because you're absolutely right that you have to have the butter on during baking. I wouldn't try that method though because it would be more difficult for the butter to fully infiltrate the dough in the center.

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