Baklava! There are high chances that you have had a good Baklava at least once in your life. After all, who would want to miss out on a sugary and sweet flaky dessert that is loaded with nuts! In fact, Baklava truly makes for a really authentic and royal dessert to enjoy after a hearty meal.
But how much do you know about Baklava? Read on to find out everything about the baklava, right from its history to a full proof recipe!
What exactly is a Baklava?
For those who have never tasted a Baklava, here is a complete anatomy of the dessert.
Baklava is a super flaky and sweet dessert. It is made up of layers of filo dough. The dessert is then layered generously with nuts, sugar syrup and/or honey and then baked. The nuts typically include walnuts and pistachios. Hazelnuts are also being used these days.
Prior to baking, the dessert is cut into parallelogram-shaped pieces, diamonds or rectangles. After baking, a rich thick syrup that comprises of rosewater and honey is again poured over the dessert. The syrup is soaked in by the baked dessert. This lends a great taste to the dessert. And this is what makes the baklava taste so special.
Baklava is then again garnished with some finely chopped nuts.
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Where does Baklava come from?
Baklava is said to have originated from the Middle East. Today, it is extremely popular and widely enjoyed in areas like Greece, Balkans, and Central Asia.
The history of the dessert, however, is not well documented. However, the oldest recipe that resembles baklava goes back to the 2nd century BC. The Turks and the Greeks argue over the origin of the dessert, and both countries claim to be its founder.
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How to make your own baklava?
There are two ways that you could follow to make baklava at home. The first option is to buy readymade filo sheets and then proceed with the rest of the preparation.
A second method, however, is to make your own baklava sheets at home. This definitely needs a lot more work and effort. However, making your own baklava from scratch is definitely worth it.
Making your own homemade filo pastry
When making your own filo pastry, make sure that the layers are very thin. The layers should be as thin as parchment paper, and transparent enough. This is what makes the dessert very challenging to make. Corn flour is used to prevent the filo layers from sticking to one another.
For the dough:
2 cups flour
½ egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup milk, slightly warmed
¼ cup yogurt
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup oil
For rolling out the dough:
200 grams corn flour
For the filling:
¾ cup walnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
For the sugar syrup:
3 cups sugar
2 cups water
Juice of half a lime
75 grams butter
- Start by preparing the filo pastry. Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix the dough well till it is soft. The dough will not be very soft, which is okay. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 3 parts, and then make 16 balls from each part. You need to have 3 groups with 16 balls each.
- Start by rolling out one ball super thin. Sprinkle corn starch to prevent the dough from sticking to the worktop. Sprinkle some cornflour on the top too, and leave aside.
- Repeat the same with the remaining 15 balls. Stack each layer over the other, using corn starch to prevent the layers from sticking to one another.
- Repeat the exact same process with the other two groups of balls
- Preheat the oven to 190C and prepare a round tray. Grease it with some oil.
- Take the first group of the rolled out stacked dough. Roll it out as thin and as large as you can. Use cornflour as and when needed.
- Place this rolled out dough onto a tray. Add half of the walnuts on top.
- Repeat with the second group of layers. Place these layers over the walnuts.
- Roll out the third group as well. Sprinkle the walnuts on top of the second layer, and then place the third layer on top.
- Use a thin sharp knife and cut the rolled out baklava into small pieces.
- Melt the butter, and pour it over the baklava.
- Bake at 190 C, till the baklava is golden brown. This will take around an hour.
Finishing it off:
- While the baklava is baking, prepare the sugar syrup. Combine everything together and let it come to a boil.
- Let the mixture cool down completely.
- Pour the syrup over the hot baklava. Let the dessert absorb the syrup well.
- Let the baklava rest for at least 4 hours before serving.
How to make sure that the baklava does not turn soggy?
Make sure that the baklava is really hot, and the syrup is cold. This is the secret to ensure that that your baklava does not get soggy and stays really crisp.
If the syrup was also hot, or if the syrup and the baklava were both very cold; the syrup will cool down in a pool. Thus, the baklava will not be absorbed properly. And this will cause the dessert to become soggy.
Storing the baklava correctly
Baklava can last for really long when stored properly. Store the dessert in an air-tight container either at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Though the dessert will last for longer in the fridge, when you store it at room temperature, the dessert will stay crisp for longer.
You could even freeze your baked dessert for around 4 months. Thaw for a few hours, and then serve.
We are craving a big piece already, are not you?