Friday, June 19, 2009

Baklava Petals

This is another treat prepared for my friend's wedding. With Greece being a stop on their Mediterranean honeymoon, baklava was a natural addition. While it looks complicated, it is actually quite easy and can be completed in about 1.5 hours.

I needed a way to deliver single serving pieces that wouldn't require utensils and also wouldn't leave my guests with sticky hands and determined that mini-phyllo cups were the solution.

My father, a lifelong baklava hater, scarfed down 17 of them after being coerced into trying one. He described them as, "light, flaky, and missing the overwhelming sweetness of most baklava". If Mikey liked them, so will you.

Baklava Petals
makes about 120

Cup Ingredients and Instructions:

1 package phyllo, thawed
1 stick butter, melted

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease mini-muffin cups.
2. Wet a clean kitchen towel. Ring it out so it is just damp. Fold in half and place near your workspace. Remove phyllo from package. Place sheets between the towel halves.
3. Remove a sheet and place it on a cutting board.
4. With a brush, drip some of the butter across the phyllo sheet. Working gently, spread the butter out until most of the sheet, especially the edges, has been lightly coated.
5. Place a new phyllo sheet on top. Repeat steps until there are 7 sheets stacked. Do not butter the final sheet.
6. Smooth your hand over the sheets, lightly pressing them together.
7. With a pizza roller, cut the phyllo into squares (about four fingers wide).
8. Press the squares into the muffin cups and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in the tins. Keep oven on.

Syrup Ingredients and Instructions:

2.5 cups of sugar
1/2 cup warm water
Juice of one lemon
A few strips of zest from the lemon
4 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tbs rosewater

1. Combine syrup ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil.
2. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
3. Reduce heat and simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
4. Remove from heat and strain out solids. Set syrup aside to cool.

Filling Ingredients and Instructions:

1 lb walnuts, finely chopped
6 tbs sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of cardamom

1. In a large bowl, stir together filling ingredients.
2. Spoon filling into phyllo cups to their natural fill line.
3. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes.
4. Remove from oven and pour a bit of the syrup over the tops.
5. Remove finished baklava from mini-muffin tins about 3 minutes after the syrup has been poured on top. Any more than that, the syrup will cool too much and you'll have to break your cups out of the tins.
6. Put into individual muffin cups or just serve as is.

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