June 27, 2011

.daring bakers challenge: june.

I am clearly getting my strawberry fix this season!
Erica of Erica's Edibles was our host for the Daring Bakers' June Challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly daring by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.

I was thrilled to read what this challenge was! Baklava has been on my "to make" list forever. Seriously, over a year now. And I just kept putting it off. I can't say I would have been adventurous enough to make my own phyllo dough though!

My notes about the challenge are pretty straight forward. The baklava turned our wonderful, but probably not all that traditional. I didn't use all the appropriate spices but it still tastes dang good. Also, homemade phyllo dough is ridiculously easy to make, but not so easy to roll! I think part of this, however, was thanks to my uber crappy rolling pin. I hate that thing. An ex-boyfriend's grandma gave it to me. I should have known then that she was just trying to pawn it off on someone! Ha.

To make the phyllo dough you simply combine 1 1/3 cups flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/2 water (plus more if needed), 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (plus a little bit more to coat the dough later), and 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar. Mix all of these together until combined, adding a small bit of extra water if the dough is too dry, then use a dough hook to knead for 10 minutes, or knead by hand for 20 minutes, until a smooth ball of dough is formed. Coat the dough with a small amount of oil and wrap in plastic wrap. Let rest for about 2 hours. If I could go back, I honestly would probably have doubled this recipe for my dish.

That awesome new food processor I told you about? It was instrumental in taking this lovely lot of ingredients:

To this lovely lot of ready to go baklava filling!

Erica suggested using an adapted Baklava recipe from Alton Brown. Since Mr. Brown is one of my favs I took her advice and followed his recipe on foodnetwork.com. Like I said though, I did not use all the traditional spices, as I didn't want to buy allspice when I really have no other use for it and it would just sit in my cupboard. I also didn't use any rose water. Alton would be so ashamed...

Out of the oven, ready for syrup!
After everything is prepared and the dough has sat long enough you want to roll out the sheets. In order to do this tear off small, golf ball size pieces, and roll them out on a well floured surface. According to Erica you can't over flour! You want each sheet to be as thin as possible, but it will probably not be as thin as store bought phyllo dough. You want at least 20 sheets (which I didn't get, hence needing to make a double batch). Stack the sheets together after rolling them, with flour in between each sheet.

Just got a syrup bath.
Get the rest of your ingredients together and start the layering! I continued to follow Alton's recipe for this. A couple layers of dough, with melted butter brushed between them, a layer of the nut mixture, more dough layers, and so on and so on. Then the baklava goes into the oven. While it's cooking start the syrup (also found on Alton's recipe).

After resting overnight. Mmmmm.
The hardest part was letting this rest overnight so the syrup could soak in. The next day though I had my first piece and it was awesome. This is a great dessert for a large group of people. It's so sweet that a very small piece satisfies any sweet tooth! As it is, I have more than 3/4 of it left still! I clearly need more friends to come over and eat my cooking.



  1. Oh my Sara...this looks great! I definitely wouldn't have been brave enough to make my own Phyllo. Great job!

  2. I will be right over to help you with the leftovers! Mine is all gone, and Iwant to make more...! Your baklava looks beautiful. I am glad youhave that new food processor to help you with the filling, too!

  3. Thanks y'all! It is so tasty!