I am not a frequent visitor to Farmer's market but my visit to Marche Jean Talon in Montreal, one of the city's open air food markets, made me fall in love with the Farmers Market and the local produce. Whether or not you make a purchase, it is just incredible to take a walk and immerse yourself in the smells of the fresh produce and cheeses.The market is lined with a wide array of chocolatiers, fromageries,bakeries and wine shops.We had a well crafted and a very tasty piece of Baklava from one of the shops.
Baklava is a middle eastern/Mediterranean layered sweet pastry. I have skimmed through the internet and could not find the origin of this sticky dessert. All along my impression was this was a Greek dessert but I could not find evidence on that.
It is made from Phyllo dough layered with nuts and spices soaked in honey syrup - The result is a crisp and a decadent diamond shaped pastry.
Recipe: Emeril Lagasse
1 cup sugar
1 cup honey
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1 (1-inch) strip lemon zest
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch ground cardamom
1 pound walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 pound phyllo, thawed according to package instructions
- Cook sugar, honey, water, lemon juice, cinnamon sticks, lemon zest, cloves and cardamom in a saucepan over medium heat
- Stir occasionally until the sugar has completely dissolved
- Continue cooking until sugar forms a thick syrup
- Remove the cinnamon sticks. Cool the syrup
- Pulse the nuts in a food processor
- Combine the nuts mixture, cinnamon and salt well
- Melt the butter over low heat in a pan.
- Butter a 13X9 inch baking dish Measure the thawed phyllo sheets. If the size is more than the baking dish, cut the dough to match the baking dish dimensions.
- Cover the sheets with a damp cloth while working otherwise the sheets tend to dry out if left uncovered
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- Working one sheet at a time, place a sheet on the bottom of the dish.
- Brush with melted butter. Pastry brush works best while brushing the butter Repeat the procedure with 6 more sheets of phyllo for about 7 layers Then spread 3/4 cup of nut mixture evenly over the buttered phyllo sheets Repeat with 7 more sheets buttering each layer like before and spread the 3/4 nut mixture on top. Continue this process until all the sheets and the nut mixture have been used
- Use a sharp knife, cut the prepared layers lengthwise such that there will be 5 equal strips.
- Then cut diagonally to form diamond shapes.
- Bake the Baklava until golden brown for about 40 min
- Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes
- Using a cup, slowly pour the honey syrup over the warm baklava such that the entire baklava gets covered completely with the syrup
- Let it stand for a few hours. Typically I would make this in the morning for serving in the night. I would say a good 8 - 9 hours will allow the baklava to absorb the flavors making it juicy.