Last night Dad and I walked over to Durum Grill to hunt and gather our dinner. (Pi was at a party so it was just the two of us.) As we were paying for dinner, Daddy noticed the pans of yumminess on the counter.
“Remind me what that is,” said the Papa.
“Baklava.” I told him.
“No, that’s not baklava,” says the Mistaken One.
“That,” I said pointing to one of the two trays, “is baklava. That one” I said pointing to the other “I’m not so sure about.”
“Baklava.” said the Durum Grill dude.
“Both of them?”
“Yes, yes. The difference is the amount of sweetness. There are 100 kinds of baklava in the world. I know recipes for 20.” The pride was clear.
On the walk home, Daddy said, “Those looked like pastries; I thought baklava was more of a dessert.” Don’t ask me to interpret that sentence. I bleeped over it and suggest you do the same. Then he asked me what is in baklava.
“Honey, nuts, more honey, additional honey, and probably some more honey.”
Having never made baklava, I decided to investigate this notion of “100 kinds of baklava.”
My good friend, the internet, assures me that there are many, many different types of baklava. I flipped through a few and will now share with you my new baklava expertise. Are you a lucky kid or what?
The basic baklava recipe goes something like this.
Basic Concept of Baklava Recipes
Go out and buy ingredients. Especially if you’re choosing a recipe that has ingredients you have never used before and are unlikely to use again (like the Alton Brown recipe I found that calls for a teaspoon of Rose Water. I love you Alton, but really?).
Melt about 6 pounds of butter. Realize you didn’t thaw the phyllo dough and have to wait until tomorrow for your baklava project.
Melt about 6 pounds of butter. Butter your baklava pan. (What? You don’t have a baklava pan? Use something else. But butter it.)
Place many layers of phyllo dough brushed with butter in the pan alternating phyllo, butter, phyllo, butter, less filling, tastes great. For fun, add a few more layers. Add a layer of chopped nuts and cinnamon. Repeat. Lots o’ layers. Lots and lots of butter.
Cut into the baklava shape of the day (diamond, square, triangle, whatev). Bake until toasty.
Meanwhile, make a syrup of honey, sugar, a little spice (like cardamom or allspice or lemon or whatever), add some more honey, decide a little honey couldn’t hurt. Cook this mixture until the sweetness takes over the entire planet.
Take the baklava out of the oven and smother with the honey syrup. (You might want to add a dash more honey.) Let sit overnight so the whole thing becomes a yummy pot of sticky honey-ness.
Take one bite. Go into sugar shock.
I may have gone into sugar shock just writing this….
We ate on the porch with Booker hoping some of our food would fall to the floor. It didn’t, and our baklava-less dinner was delicious.