Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"Low-Fat" Baklava

On my way home to Jersey, I was reading my Bon Appetit and I came across their "Pistachio Baklava w/ Orange-Cardamom Syrup". Knowing my family, I made a couple of tweaks to their recipe.

So I've cut out 25% of the fat, and 50 % of the sugar, but lets face it...Baklava is not a low-fat dessert. Here's my improved version:

"Low-Fat" Baklava
1 cup sugar + 8 tbsps
1 1/4 cups fresh orange juice
1 1/2 tsp cloves
3 cups pistachios
1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
30 14x9-in. sheets fresh or frozen, thawed, phyllo pastry

Simmer the cup of sugar with the orange juice and cloves and boil until the sugar dissolves and it's reduced to about 1 1/2 cups. Cool syrup.

Place nuts and 2 tbsp of sugar in processor and pulse until most of the nuts are finely ground (largest piece should be size of small peas). Mix nuts, 6 tbsp of sugar, and cinnamon in medium bowl.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush 13 x 9 x 2 inch glass baking dish with melted butter. Place 1 phyllo sheet on bottom. Brush lightly with melted butter and repeat 9 more times alternating butter and phyllo. Sprinkle half the pistachio mixture evenly over phyllo. Place another sheet of phyllo over the nut mixture, lightly brush with butter, and repeat 9 more times. Sprinkle other half of of pistachio mixture and top with last 10 sheets of phyllo (alternating it with butter).

Using a sharp knife, cut diagonally through top layer of phyllo from top left corner to botttom right corner. Cut top layer of phyllo into 1 in. rows parallel to the first cut. Turn pan and cut rows about 2 1/4 in. wide forming a diamond pattern.

Bake baklava until golden brown and crisp (50-55 min.) Drizzle syrup evenly over hot baklava, cool in pan on rack. Recut baklava along lines all the way through the layers.

A little bit complicated, and a little bit time consuming, but it's pretty delicious (and for some reason people think it tastes better after sitting for a night).

A hint for working with phyllo, cover it with a slightly moist paper towel as you build your layers. It's easier to work as two, so that one person layers while the other person is in charge of lifting and replacing the slightly moist paper towel. Also, pick up the phyllo with two hands (try to slip your hands under with your palms facing up), it's easier to pick up that way. If it rips, just grab another sheet!

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