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Posts Tagged ‘nuts’

HomeMadePhyllo_First

Growing up, one of our family favourites was Rétes (Hungarian Strudel) and my dear Mom made Hungarian delicacies like Káposztás Rétes (Savoury Cabbage Strudel) and Túrós Rétes (sweet Cottage Cheese Strudel) and even sometimes but not often, Almás Rétes (Apple Strudel). Mom’s favourite was Káposztás Rétes (Cabbage Strudel) and although as kids we couldn’t stand it, I often find myself craving the savoury flavours of this treat.

My dear Mom always told stories as she was cooking or baking, stories about food, of course! The one story that has resonated with me all these years is that Grandma (Nagymama) made her own Rétes dough! The story goes that Nagymama laid a clean, white sheet on the dining room table, dusted it with flour and stretched and stretched and stretched her homemade dough until you could read newsprint through it. I always imagined an enormous dough (like this) on the table! Mom never made strudel dough that I recall, by the time she was a homemaker, ready made, frozen dough was already available and so much easier than making it yourself. I have used ready made Phyllo more times than I can count on all my fingers and toes, but I’d never made it myself. So you can well imagine why homemade phyllo dough is on my bucket list.

Recently, we invited dear friends to the cottage and I thought homemade Baklava would be a lovely dessert over the weekend and a great excuse to make homemade phyllo dough. I chose Baklava because if the Phyllo didn’t work out as well, the syrup would ‘hide’ its flaws, unlike Rétes. The recipe I followed is here (why reinvent the wheel?) but I can tell you right now that using the pasta maker is not nearly as satisfying as rolling by hand. A marble rolling pin (or something really heavy) would be helpful…I had a rolling pin made by one of my dear Mom’s friends many years ago and I paid the price by bruising my palms and fingers!

Bucket List

Homemade Phyllo Dough

This recipe makes 25 sheets approx. 25 cm x  41 cm (10″ x 16″)

I allowed the dough to rest overnight.

The recipe instructions indicate to take the dough to #9 on the pasta maker (mine is a KitchenAid Stand Mixer with attachments) but I recommend to take it to #8 and do the rest by hand. I also tried rolling it entirely by hand (see photos below – only took about 12 minutes each) and it wasn’t as difficult as I had anticipated but it did bruise my hands badly). Between each number of stretching the dough by pasta machine, keep rubbing a little flour to both sides of the flattened dough, this is how the correct texture is achieved. Believe me, you will know when you feel it.

I also found that rolling the dough through each pass on the pasta maker a couple of times instead of just once results in a finer dough.

Baklava

Yields:

  • 17 (4-sheet) baklavas
  • 11 (2-sheet) baklavas
  • 4 left over sheets (freeze for later).

Ingredients:

  • 21 sheets of phyllo dough
  • 120 g hazelnuts
  • 200 g almonds
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Roast both nuts on 163° C (325° F) for 18 minutes or until most of the skins have separated from the hazelnuts (almonds may or may not separate).
  2. Using a clean tea towel, rub the hot nuts until most of the skins come off. Separate skins from nuts.
  3. Chop both hazelnuts and almonds roughly and combine with sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Set aside.

Syrup Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Combine  first three ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat and add lemon juice. Stir well, set aside.

Baklava assembly:

  1. Preheat the oven to 163° C (325° F).
  2. Divide the dough into 40 g dough portions.
  3. Lightly flour a large, clean surface and roll out to approximately 25 cm x 41 cm or 10″ x 16″ sheets. Continue to roll all of the dough like this until you have rolled it all out. Cover with a lightly damp cloth and a jelly roll pan to protect it from drying out.
  4. Take one sheet of phyllo and lay it length-wise in front of you. Brush generously with the melted butter. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of the nut mixture per sheet. Continue for 2-3 sheets.
  5. Taking the long end, begin to roll the phyllo tightly. Brush the finished roll with melted butter.
  6. Cut into 5 cm or 2.5″ lengths (or smaller equal lengths). Place cut side up into a lightly buttered pan, it doesn’t matter if they touch. Continue until all the dough and nut mixture is exhausted.
  7. Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes.
  8. Allow to cool completely and then pour the syrup over The rolls and allow to rest for a few hours.
Phyllo40g

I found that 40 g made the perfect sheet size.

Phyllo_1

A relatively damp and somewhat elastic dough (not nearly as elastic as pizza dough)

Phyllo_2

You can roll to 9 in your pasta maker, but honestly I did not find rolling by hand difficult.

Phyllo_3

OK. By saying “I did not find the rolling difficult”, what I meant was “not difficult as I was rolling” but the next day, my palms were bruised from the shear pressure I had to put onto the rolling pin. You may wish to roll with a marble rolling pin.

Phyllo_4

For some reason, my Nagymama (grandma) always said the dough has to be thin enough to read a newspaper through it, I figured a nut panel would suffice!

Phyllo_5

This is one of the rolls of Baklava.

Phyllo_6

Cut rolls into 16-17 equal lengths and place into a greased pan. It’s OK if they touch because the dough has been greased sufficiently so they won’t stick.

Baklava_Beauty

The finished product, with a little extra honey drizzled on. PS, that silver tray comes from my Dad’s side of the family, it’s probably over 100 years old!

 

Notes:

This is quite a damp dough and it’s a bit sticky but don’t worry, you’ll be stretching and rolling additional flour into it to give it the correct wet/dry ratio.

The dough only becomes difficult to work with (breaking, cracking) when it dries out; make sure you have a lightly damp tea towel to cover any rolls or sheets. I also used a 10″ x 16″ jelly roll pan to cover it.

In hindsight, I should have used only 2 or 3 (not 4) sheets per roll. Next time I think I’ll sprinkle the nut mixture on each sheet and not just the end — I have adjusted the recipe above.

I was 100% sure I would not be making this recipe again because it’s so inexpensive to buy ready made, but in reviewing the ingredient list I may have to resort to making it myself as there is one or two ingredients that gross me out.

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Bircher Muesli

Muesli was invented by a Swiss physician to help his patients recover from surgery. It originally was a wet version (unlike the dry ones you buy at the grocery store) with raw oats, a grated apple and nuts and dairy such as milk or yogurt but it can be made using whatever you prefer. I love making a large batch to have over the weekend when we go to the cottage, it’s a delicious and nutritious breakfast particularly when you have projects to finish up like we did. I served it with a half a grapefruit and it satisfied us even working hard!
The first time I had this lovely breakfast was in Zurich in the late 80’s; JT had a business meeting with a wonderful Swiss gentleman (with whom we are still friends) and his wife was kind enough to take me around. I couldn’t wait to introduce JT to it. Years later, I’m still making it even though I confuse the name quite often!

20130811-141933.jpg

The variety of textures is a pleasant way to start the day.

Bircher Muesli

(makes about 4 cups)

Ingredients:

  • 1 apple, grated
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 mixed in salted nuts (I used the Turkish honey and nuts my friend Barb of Profiteroles and Ponytails gave me)
  • 16 grapes cut into halves
  • 1 cup raw rolled oats

Directions:

  1. The night before you wish to eat this breakfast, mix everything together and refrigerate.
20130811-141921.jpg

The honey nuts make a lovely addition to this old favourite.

20130811-141908.jpg

You could add a piece of toast, but I find the oats filling enough.

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I’ve been reading up on Moroccan blogs; one such blog mentioned that a Moroccan host can take up to a week to prepare a meal for her honoured guests! I started Monday… does that count?

Onto dessert #2 for my little trio for Saturday night’s Moroccan themed dinner party. I found this one on Epicurious, and just liked the way it sounded but I did verify that this dessert does exist in Moroccan cuisine. I cut this recipe in half but list the full ingredients below, and it made five mini tarts, perfect! (ok, three are for the dinner party – I don’t eat dessert- and one was the taster for JT to make sure it was yummy and it sure was!!! the larger round one is for my friend (and boss) because she gives me a ride home most evenings (believe it or not, we live across the street from each other…we are indeed good friends!)

Moroccan Fig & Sesame Tart with Orange Cardamom Cream

Fig and Sesame Tart

Ingredients for pastry:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted

For filling:

  • 9 ounces dried Turkish figs, stemmed and finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon orange-flower water (preferably Mymouné) I googled orange water substitutions and found that you can use an orange liqueur like Triple Sec.

For cardamom orange cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons mild honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Accompaniment: fresh orange sections

Directions, pastry dough:

  1. Pulse together flour, confectioners sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined.
  2. Add butter and process until mixture resembles fine meal.
  3. Add 3 yolks (reserving the fourth for egg wash) and process until it forms a smooth dough, 2 to 3 minutes. (Don’t worry about overworking dough.)
  4. Transfer dough to a work surface and gather into a ball, then divide into 3 equal pieces. Form one third of dough into a small disk, then form remaining dough into a larger disk. Chill disks, each wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.

Make filling while dough chills:

  1. Simmer figs, water, sugar, and cinnamon in a 1- to 2-quart heavy saucepan, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in sesame seeds (3 tablespoons) and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in orange-flower water, then transfer filling to a bowl.
  4.  Cool filling to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Assemble and bake tart:

  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place flan ring in center.
  2. Roll out larger disk of dough into an 11-inch round on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin. (If dough is too firm to roll out, let stand at room temperature 5 minutes.)
  3. Fit dough into flan ring, pressing dough up side of ring (dough is very tender and tears easily; patch as needed; they will blend in during baking), then trim dough flush with top of ring. Spoon filling into crust and spread evenly.
  4. Roll out remaining disk of dough into a 9-inch round on lightly floured surface with floured rolling pin. Gently lay round over filling, then roll rolling pin over top to trim. Patch if necessary.
  5. Beat together remaining yolk and cream (1 tablespoon) in a cup with a fork and brush some of egg wash over top crust, then chill until egg wash appears darker and is slightly tacky, about 3 minutes. Brush with second coat of egg wash and chill again. Lightly score top with back of a small knife to make a decorative pattern and sprinkle with sesame seeds (1 teaspoon).
  6. Bake tart until top is golden, 30 to 35 minutes (I found 40-45 minutes did the trick).
  7. Transfer tart on baking sheet to a rack and cool 10 minutes, then slide tart off parchment onto rack to cool. Gently remove ring.

Make cream and serve tart:

  1. While tart bakes, stir together cream, honey, zest, and cardamom in a medium bowl and chill, covered. Just before serving, beat cream mixture with an electric mixer until it holds soft peaks.
  2. Serve tart, warm or at room temperature, with cream and oranges.

My tarts were very small, about 10 cm x 4cm and the round one was about 8cm. I plan on serving the three desserts on a long rectangular plate. My ‘Platogram” is below. I usually do this for more complex dinners so I don’t mess it up after a couple of glasses of wine!

Plating the Dessert

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