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Wow, Rona, that looks great!  I don't know how I missed this post earlier.

Your version looks perfect to me.  I like how the top is obviously crunchy.  Too much butter in baklava, spanakopita, etc. is a turn-off to me.  How did it taste, when you finally tasted it?  (And how did you exercise such restraint . . . .)

Thanks, but it wasn't so good. The bottom layer of phyllo was quite greasy, while the top layer was very dry. I don't know what happened. I think if I make it again, I'll have more phyllo/filling layers, like you do for your method. I might also make different cuts--maybe using diamond-shaped cuts would help distribute the butter more evenly??

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I've made baklava with a mix of nuts - hazelnut, pecan, walnut, cashew - they all worked.

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Tomorrow I'm making a hazelnut baklava with a coffee syrup. Anyone ever made it with hazelnuts before and was it any good? I'm only really using them because i have a large pile that i need to use up.

i think this sounds like a nice combination. i've used hazelnuts and gianduja for an untraditional cigar shaped baklava.

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well it's been baked and is sitting on the bench absorbing the syrup. It smells really good..

I am a bit apprehensive that maybe i didn't use enough butter but i guess i will find out in a few hours

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Tomorrow I'm making a hazelnut baklava with a coffee syrup. Anyone ever made it with hazelnuts before and was it any good? I'm only really using them because i have a large pile that i need to use up.

I think this sounds good too. If I were to try this I would chop the hazelnuts finely. For some reason I think they are harder than other nuts. (Is this true????)

.... what about some chocolate in there too?

mmmmm it all sounds so good.

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I used about 400 gms of hazelnuts. I roasted them and tried to skin them (about 30% success) and then chucked them in the food processor. It got them about 70% finely ground and the other 30% large chunks so i think it will have a good texture contrast. I love the hazelnut/coffee mix. I put in some cinnamon as well.

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Well it's definitely up there with some of the best baklava i've had, if I do say so myself. The hazelnuts worked great and the coffee syrup was just right, not too strong or bitter but just a nice flavour. I think maybe i needed a bit more syrup but it still works fine. The nuts were mixed with castor sugar and it is a bit grainy from the sugar, i think next time i would really grind up the nuts and use less sugar to hold it together. One thing though, the top layers of pastry are loose, especially around the edges. Has anyone else had this problem? I used the afore mentioned assembly technique of just ladleing in the butter and then pouring more on top.

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A thought..

After making the baklava, instead of making a syrup, how about pouring a whole bottle of creme de cacao or kahlua or something over it and letting it soak in.. Obviously the baklava would need to cool down a bit first so the alcohol didn't evaporate..

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A thought..

After making the baklava, instead of making a syrup, how about pouring a whole bottle of creme de cacao or kahlua or something over it and letting it soak in.. Obviously the baklava would need to cool down a bit first so the alcohol didn't evaporate..

That would probably make the pastry wet.

One uses a syrup because it does not make it wet (if it's a well made syrup),

yet it sort of glazes everything with sugar and flavor.

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How did you make the coffee syrup? Just coffee and sugar?

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150 ml espresso out of a stovetop

1 cup caster sugar

4 in piece cinnamon stick

2 cloves

4 cardamom pods

I put it all on the stove on a low heat till the sugar dissolved and then turned it up a bit. As soon as it came to the boil i turned it off, put the lid on and let it infuse till it was cool then i strained it and chilled it. Some recipes and methods I had read reccomended putting cold syrup onto hot baklava so i did that. I made the syrup when i got out of bed and had it in the fridge before breakfast then by the time i had assembled and baked the baklava it was cool enough. It was really good, the coffee wasn't bitter at all and was a quite subtle flavour. It went really well with the hazelnuts. But I think next time i will increase the syrup because the baklava was a bit dry around the edges. maybe put in more cinnamon and cardamom as well.

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A quick thanks to ChefCrash. I've been making your recipe (sometimes modified, sometimes not) ever since you posted it. A few weeks ago I had a woman hire me to make a full sheet for a book signing/reading that she was doing for THIS BOOK, and she was very particular. Regular fillo, not wholewheat. Simple syrup, not honey. Rose water, not orange. Nut mix, not pistachio...you get the idea. So I did your recipe with three layers, nut mix on the bottom and pistachio only on the top. I was very nervous about hearing what she had to say. She actually came into the store this afternoon to thank me for helping make her event so successful. She said the baklawa was perfect! So, I pass the thanks on to you. شكرا لك

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As far as I know this has been standard practice in Turkey for a long time. For types such as "bülbül yuvası" there is no other way to achieve it (imagine brushing individual sheets, wrapping them around a dowel and compressing them...you would end up with a mess!).

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i wanted smth nutty and strudelly for breakfast so i layered every 3-4 filo sheets with nut filling and then for the center piled on minced apple with almond meal/chopped walnuts, sugar 'n spices and dried sweet crans and rolled it up. came out quite satisfying and not as heavy as baklava. i found both recipes in my greek cook book and adjusted them somewhat. even though it's a dessert item, i used 2 parts butter with 1 part grape seed oil for brushing, like i do for spinakopita. i really brushed well the folded edges , every one, to make sure they are not dry and tucked them on the bottom. the top however is too dry for my taste. i was thinking of covering it up and only uncovering at the end to brown. the bottom was not soggy and nice and crunchy, wish th etop was like that too!

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Firstly, thanks to ChefCrash for posting this wonderful and dangerous recipe.

I made a 13 x 9 pan of easy baklava using all butter, two layers of nut filling, and syrup containing sugar, honey, cinnamon bark, cloves, and lemon zest. After the baklava soaked in the syrup for a few days, Mrs. C declared it “the best baklava I have ever eaten.”

The texture of the phyllo dough was a little off, but I used a different brand this time. For purposes of scientific experimentation, I feel obligated to repeat the baklava using my normal brand of phyllo dough. Yep, I am willing to take one for the team. :rolleyes:

Has anyone tried adding a little rose water to the syrup?

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Just in time for holiday baking...I am thinking about adding this to my list. These look luscious and so much easier than the traditional method.

Bruce, I am not clear as to whether your two-day soak in syrup was before or after baking.

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Just me Linda- but I think the soak is always after- the bake is just the phyllo dough and sugar/nuts. The syrup gets poured over after baking. I always find it needs to age a few days to get "mellow". This is one of my Christmas standards- the recipients actually start asking about it right around this time.

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Bruce, I am not clear as to whether your two-day soak in syrup was before or after baking.

After. As heidih described, baklava improves after a few days.

So no one has added rose water to their baklava syrup? Guess I'll have to break new ground with the next batch.

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We always add rosewater to the syrup for baklawa

Excellent, thank you! If I might as one more question - how much rosewater do you add per volume of syrup in your baklawa?

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Bruce, I don't really measure much of anything. Rosewater is pretty strong so I'd start with a few drops and taste the syrup. I've made ChefCrash's baklawa and it does work very well and is so simple. Not exactly like my Grandmother's but pretty darn close and less work.

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Interesting, all the recipes i've ever read had me brushing every layer of filo with melted butter. I used to make Baklava quite regularly but stopped after coming back from Istanbul this year. But this method looks so simple I may have to try again. The reason I stopped making baklava, in fact we've not even eaten any, since Istanbul was Karaköy Güllüoğlu, the famous baklava shop there. The wife and I thought we'd eaten Baklava before but after eating these beauties we knew right away that we'd be spoilt for them for a while. For me there are two big differences between home-made and these jewels of perfection - pastry & butter.

Don't you find that the shop bought filo is actually quite thick? I never realised it before but eating these the pastry is so incredibly light and airy, I don't think I can compare it to anything else. In the photo below of a walnut variation, I've tried to count the layers - i think there are about 32 on top and as a guess it must be about the same at the bottom, over 60 layers! The butter they use has an incredible rich flavour, almost cheesy. It's little weird to begin with but after three visits we could not get enough of it. I know that every region has their own style but after eating these I couldn't face eating my own sorry creations:

gallery_52657_6885_69781.jpg

So the problem for me is where can I get the thinnest filo pastry possible? The corollary to this is, how difficult is it to make your own?

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revisiting this thread made me want to make some baklawa. This is crazy simple. ChefCrash you are a genius. My only problems were one, the phyllo dough was crumbled when unrolled but that doesn't show the second problem I've had is when cutting the top layer the phyllo is a little dry and wants to separate. I didn't waste time after putting on the top layer so it wasn't due to delay. I cooked mine at 350 for 50 min but it still got a little overly brown on top.

CIMG6529.JPG

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Here in Turkey lots of people do make their own baklava phyllo. But the result is generally known as "home baklava." It's good, sometimes very good, and because it's fresh, it's definitely better than using packaged phyllo and will puff better while cooking. But it won't be like the stuff at Güllüoğlu. (Οr, my personal taste, Köşkeroğlu which ironically is around the back of the same building!) The people who make that train for a long time. The dough is kneaded for a long time, divided into lumps, these are then rolled out to about dinner plate size, dusted with cornstarch and stacked by twos. These are then rolled out again (rolling around the oklava this time), and finally stacked again and rolled a couple more times; switching places between rolls to keep them even. The experts do the final roll with 13 of these (already doubled) sheets. One of the characteristics of expertly rolled baklava dough is that you can easily read a newspaper through it!

But learning to make it yourself is still a fun thing, and after a few tries (you'll have your batches that go completely wrong, that split into shreds just as you think you've got it, etc...) you'll have something pretty workable.

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Scubadoo97, your baklawa looks perfect.

As far as adding rosewater to the syrup, we find that rosewater pairs better with Pistachio stuffed pastries. Most of the time it's mixed into the dough such as in Maamoul and Nammoura. But it's all a matter of taste.

We made this last night.

PC194124.jpg

A small portion for the ladies at the bank.

PC204141.jpg

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