Monday, June 27, 2011

Daring Bakers' Challenge- Baklava

Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.

I was very excited about this challenge, because I love baklava, but I've always used frozen phyllo dough. Unfortunately, making sheets of homemade phyllo dough proved to be more challenging than I expected.  The dough was nearly impossible to roll out, as it kept ripping.  The end result was not pretty, so I ended up making another pan of baklava, using frozen phyllo dough, and had much better results.  I recommend using frozen dough, but I included the recipe for homemade dough as well, in case you're up for a real challenge!

Make dough and allow to rest for 2 hours.

Roll out dough into paper-thin sheets

Layer sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each sheet with butter

Add layer of nuts and spices, and repeat 

Brush top of baklava with butter, and slice the pastry into squares before baking

Make syrup with water, sugar, honey and spices while baklava bakes

Pour syrup over hot baklava and allow it to cool

Makes one 8" by 12" pan (24-30 pieces)

Phyllo Dough

2 2/3 cups unbleached all purpose (plain) flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup less 2 tablespoons water, plus more if needed
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1 teaspoon cider vinegar

1. Mix flour and salt together.
2. Combine water, oil and vinegar in a small bowl.  Slowly add water and oil mixture to the flour mixture, stirring constantly until you have a soft dough.  Knead dough by hand for 20 minutes (if you have a stand mixer with dough hook, you can knead for 10 minutes).
3. Make the dough into a ball and lightly cover with oil.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 2 hours.
4. To roll out dough, break off a golf ball sized chunk.  Make sure your counter and rolling pin are well floured.  Roll out dough as thin as possible, until transparent.


1 1/4 cups honey
1 1/4 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon orange zest
pinch of ground clove

1. While baklava bakes, combine ingredients in saucepan over medium heat.  Boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and allow to cool


2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Few pinches allspice
3/4 cup pecans
3/4 cup walnuts
3/4 cup pistachios
2/3 cup sugar
phyllo dough- see recipe above, or buy frozen dough and allow to thaw
½ cup (1 stick) melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Place nuts, sugar and spices in food processor and pulse until nuts are finely chopped.
3. Brush bottom of pan with melted butter and place first sheet of phyllo dough.  Brush phyllo sheet with butter and repeat about 8 times.
4. Spread 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
5. Continue layering phyllo dough and butter, repeating 5 times
6. Spread 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
7. Continue layering phyllo dough and butter, repeating 5 times
8. Spread 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
9. Layer 6 more sheets of phyllo dough and butter
10. Brush the top of the baklava with melted butter, then use a sharp knife to cut into pieces
11. Bake baklava for 45 minutes-1 hour.  Baklava will be golden brown when ready.
12. Remove from oven and pour syrup over hot baklava.
13. Allow baklava to cool and absorb the syrup.

Recipe adapted from the June challenge recipe posted at, which was adapted from an Alton Brown recipe.

-Posted by Jennifer

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dutch Baby with Peaches

I recently bought a cast iron skillet and was looking for an opportunity to use it for the first time.  With peaches being in season right now, this was the perfect recipe.  This pancake is great for either breakfast or dessert, and would be equally tasty with any other type of fruit filling!

Mix the batter and pour into hot skillet to bake.

Heat sliced peaches with butter, cinnamon and brown sugar.

Fill Dutch baby with peaches and dust with powdered sugar.

Dutch Baby
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
2 eggs
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing

Spiced Peaches
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 peaches, peeled and sliced
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice
Confectioner’s sugar

1. Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet in the oven and heat to 450°F.
2. Sift flour and salt together and set aside.
3. Beat eggs with mixer at low speed. Add the milk and flour mixture, alternating, in 3 additions.  Beat until smooth, then mix in the melted butter.
4. Brush the hot skillet with the extra melted butter.  Pour batter into hot skillet and bake for 10 minutes at 450°F.  Reduce heat to 350°F and continue baking until the Dutch baby is puffy and pulls away from the pan, about 15 minutes.  Remove Dutch baby from oven and drizzle with lemon juice.
5. While Dutch baby is baking, prepare the peaches.  Melt butter in sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the peaches, cinnamon and brown sugar and stir until peaches are heated.
6. Fill the Dutch baby with the spiced peaches and dust with powdered sugar.  Serve immediately.

Adapted from the recipe for Dutch Baby with Spiced Peaches in Baking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America, available for purchase at

-Posted by Jennifer