Baklava Fingers

Baklava Fingers

Baklava. A lebanese pastry made by layering thin sheets of dough (phyllo) with melted butter, ground nuts, and sugar, which is then baked and covered with a syrup.

I love baklava. It has a flaky crisp texture on top and sweet layers of a crunchy nut filling throughout.

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There are many different ways to make baklava; Pistachios, walnuts, almonds, squares, triangles, or fingers.

I prefer the rolls, or ‘fingers’. I think it’s because there is less phyllo. Fingers have the perfect proportions of phyllo, butter, and filling.

I love experimenting with baklava fillings. Many traditional recipes call for nuts, sugar, and spices like cinnamon or allspice, but I like to make my baklava ‘gourmet’.

Below are my recipes for ‘Chocolate Orange Cardamom’, ‘Lemon Pistachio’, and ‘Hazelnut Espresso’ baklavas.

The Process.

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Place all of the ingredients for the filling in a food processor. Process it until it is grainy. You dont want it too chunky; All the ingredients should be about the same size, but it shouldn’t be a powdery texture either, if that makes sense. Not too big, and not too small.

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I forgot to put the chocolate chips in so I had to re-process the filling. If I went to much longer the nuts would have gotten too small, but the chocolate chips ended up a little too big. This is perfectly fine, but I prefer it all to be the same.

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It is important to prep your phyllo dough to fit your pans size. I use a small toaster oven pan when making baklava fingers because it is almost a perfect fit. Before I start, I take the thawed phyllo dough and trim down the long sides so the roll will fit.  It is easier to trim it before you roll them all up. Be sure to brush some melted butter on the sides and bottom of the pan to prevent it from sticking. You will take a piece of phyllo dough and brush it with melted butter. I prefer to layer three pieces together for baklava fingers.

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On the third piece, you will butter it on top and sprinkle a few tablespoons of the filling along a short end. I like to sprinkle some of the filling out into the middle so it layers with some of the phyllo. I stop the filling at the middle to be sure there will be enough phyllo left when rolling to create nice crisp outside layers.

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A package of phyllo makes about 12 rolls for me, all of which conveniently fit into two of my toaster oven pans. Once all the rolls are assembled and snugly fit into the pan brush each roll generously with melted butter. At this point I stick the trays in the freezer for about 5 minutes.

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I do this because I find it is easier to cut the baklava when the butter is hardened. I cut each roll into four pieces. From here I stick the baklava into the oven to bake. While the baklava bakes, you will assemble the syrup to be drizzled on top when it is finished.

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When finished, the baklava will be a light golden brown on top. It may be necessary to rotate the pan while baking to ensure an even browning on top. As soon as the baklava is out of the oven you will carefully pour the syrup over each piece.

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Once topped with the syrup you can sprinkle the tops with a garnish or leave them plain. If I am making multiple types or giving them as a gift I garnish the tops so I know what the filling is.

Chocolate Orange Cardamom Recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

I use two 8 1/2″ by 6 1/2″ baking trays

1 package of thawed phyllo dough, approximately 40 sheets

2 sticks of melted butter

Filling:

1 cup walnuts

Zest of 1/2 orange

1/8 cup dark chocolate chips

1 1/2 tbsp ground cardamom

2 tbsp sugar

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor. Assemble the baklava and bake for 25-30 minutes; Until lightly browned on top.

Syrup:

1 1/4 cup sugar

1 cup water

1 tsp lemon juice

Zest of 1/2 orange (reserve 1/2 the zest for garnish)

Start making the syrup half way through baking time.

Bring sugar and water to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Once it starts to boil, add the lemon juice and orange zest and turn heat down to low. Let simmer 5-10 minutes.

Syrup should thicken and become ‘sticky’.  Turn off heat and let cool for a few minutes. When baklava has finished baking, evenly pour syrup over all pieces.

Hazelnut Espresso Recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

I use two 8 1/2″ by 6 1/2″ baking trays

1 package of thawed phyllo dough, approximately 40 sheets

2 sticks of melted butter

Filling:

1 cup hazelnuts

1/8 cup dark chocolate chips

3 tbsp coarsely ground espresso

2 tbsp sugar

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor. Assemble the baklava and bake for 25-30 minutes; Until lightly browned on top.

Syrup:

1 1/4 cup sugar

1 cup water

1 tsp lemon juice

Start making the syrup half way through baking time.

Bring sugar and water to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Once it starts to boil, add the lemon juice and turn heat down to low. Let simmer 5-10 minutes.

Syrup should thicken and become ‘sticky’.  Turn off heat and let cool for a few minutes. When baklava has finished baking, evenly pour syrup over all pieces.

Lemon Pistachio Recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

I use two 8 1/2″ by 6 1/2″ baking trays

1 package of thawed phyllo dough, approximately 40 sheets

2 sticks of melted butter

Filling:

1 1/4 cup pistachios

zest of 1 lemon

2 tbsp mint flakes

2 tbsp sugar

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor. Assemble the baklava and bake for 25-30 minutes; Until lightly browned on top.

Syrup:

3/4  cup sugar

1/2 cup fresh honey

1 cup water

1 tsp lemon juice

Zest of 1 lemon (reserve 1/2 for garnish)

Start making the syrup half way through baking time.

Bring sugar, water, and honey to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Once it starts to boil, add the lemon juice and zest, then turn heat down to low. Let simmer 5-10 minutes.

Syrup should thicken and become ‘sticky’.  Turn off heat and let cool for a few minutes. When baklava has finished baking, evenly pour syrup over all pieces.

Enjoy!

xoxo kaitlin.

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