Cheater Baklava

I was inspired by a huge box of Baklava that a co-worker brought into our clinic to share the other day. I wanted to create these delicate squares of yummy goodness, so I set out to my local grocer’s freezer to pick up a box of Fillo dough, when my eyes caught a glance of something called “mini Fillo shells”. I’ve NEVER used these before! In my excitement, a light bulb went off, hmmm! Cheater Baklava! Less work but still have that great taste, oozing with syrup and just a hint of orange, why not?

1 pkg. (15 count) mini Fillo shells, frozen
1/2 cup Walnuts
1/2 cup sliced Almonds
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1/2 tsp. ground Cinnamon
1 1/2 Tbsp. Butter, melted
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Orange zest OR Orange water

SYRUP:
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. Brown sugar
2 Tbsp. Honey
1/4 tsp. Vanilla extract
baklava0

Start by making the syrup for the Baklava. In my readings and learning about Mediterranean and Turkish desserts, I found out something I never knew. You shouldn’t combine hot with hot or cold with cold or something like that…. SO, I made the syrup first, to allow it to cool completely before the baklava is ready.

In a small saucepan on medium high heat, combine the water, brown sugar, honey, and the vanilla extract. Stir this to dissolve the sugar. Bring it up to a boil then reduce to medium low and reduce the syrup until it has thickened somewhat.  Allow this to cool completely!

baklava6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the fillo shells into a mini muffin pan. Place them into the oven and heat them up for just about 5 minutes, no more than that.

baklava1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using a dry large pan, toast the walnuts and almonds, stirring constantly until they are golden and toasted.

baklava2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remove from pan and pour into the bowl of a food processor using the chopping blade. Add the sugar, cinnamon, butter, salt, and orange zest. Pulse until the nuts are finely chopped but not mush.

Nuts are still coarse, but not too fine....

Nuts are still coarse, but not too fine….

Use a microplane when zesting, great for cheese too.

Use a microplane when zesting, great for cheese too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By this time the shells should be ready to be removed from the oven. Stir the nut mixture and add 2 teaspoons to each shell. You may have a little bit left. Return the shells back to the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, just enough to toast the nuts more.

Add 2 teaspoons of nut filling to each shell.

Add 2 teaspoons of nut filling to each shell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the cooking time is up, remove the tray from the oven and using a teaspoon for each shell, pour the syrup over the nuts allowing the syrup to soak through. Once all the shells have received their first pouring of syrup, go back to the first one and pour another teaspoon of syrup over them again. Doing it this way allows the syrup to penetrate all the way to the bottom of the shell and throughout the nuts. Allow the pan to cool on the counter for about 30 minutes and then cover the tray with plastic wrap and place the tray into the refrigerator allowing to set up for at least 3 hours.  Remove from the tray and serve!

baklava7

Each shell should have 2 tsp. of syrup total…..

 

 

 

 

 

NOTE:  You could use whatever nuts you’d like, I just prefer walnuts and almonds.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s