A good diner party always ends with a nice dessert. I doubted for a moment to just serve a classic Sunday ice cream or just some Greek yoghurt with honey. But then I would neglect a very important part of the traditional Greek cooking culture, wouldn’t I? Cause lets be honest, who has never heard of the world-famous Greek pastry baklava?
I myself am not a big fan of dessert who swims in honey and where it is impossible to have a bite without spilling some on your cloths. That’s why I tried to make my version of the national dessert and I tried my very best to keep the honey soaked parts to an absolute minimum without abusing that authentic flavor. The baklava was in the beautiful company of another well known Greek dessert Tyrokafteri, also known as angel hair.
As a counterpart to all that sticky sweetness I made a lovely crispy Moroccan pastry M’Hancha.
450 grams phyllo
2 cups walnuts (+/- 250 grams)
2 cups skinned almonds (+/- 250 grams)
1/4 cup pistachios (+/- 75 grams)
½ teaspoon grounded cloves
2 tablespoons cinnamon powder
4 teaspoons + 300 grams sugar
250 ml water
85 grams honey
the juice of ¼ lemon
750 grams kadaifi dough (angel hair)
100 grams butter
300 grams skinned and minced almonds
3 tablespoons sugar
½ tablespoon cinnamon powder
300 grams sugar
250 ml water
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon orange juice
the zeste of a lemon
200 grams almond powder
2 tablespoons orange blossom water
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
2 tablespoons icing sugar
Pulse your walnuts, pistachios and almonds in a foodprocesser till they have a crumbly consistency.
Mix the crumbled nuts with the cloves, the cinnamon powder and the tablespoons of sugar.
In the meantime you take the phyllo out of the refrigerator and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Melt the butter while you wait.
Take a large square tray and grease it with a little bit of vegetable oil.
Now lay in the sheets of phyllo till the tray is fully covered. (It took me 4 leaves to get this done.) Remember that the sheets have to hang over the tray at every side!
Take a extra sheet of phyllo and place it in the middle of the tray to cover the other sheets. Now brush the sheets with a little bit of melted butter.
Now sprinkle in a layer of the nut filling onto the phyllo. Repeat this process till you have about 3 to 4 layers. (Phyllo, butter, nuts, phyllo, butter, nuts, phyllo, butter, nuts)
Now fold in the flaps that overhang the tray and place 2 extra sheets on top of this for the top layer.
Brush the top layer of the baklava with some melted butter and cut the pastry into those famous baklava triangles.
Now place the baklava into a preheated oven at 175° for about 90 minutes or until the top layer is golden brown.
Keep an eye on the baklava, when it colors to fast you can put a little piece of aluminum foil over it.
Now add the water, the sugar and the honey together in a little pan and bring to the boil. Let the syrup simmer for about 10 minutes, before tossing in the lemon juice. Once the juice is added let it boil for another 10 minutes.
Now let the syrup cool and poor it imidiatly over the hot baklava when it comes out of the oven.
Mix the grated almonds together with the cinnamon powder, the egg, the sugar.
Now unfold the angel hair very carefull onto a flat workboard. Keep in mind that you need enough place to move around your workboard and that the angel hair needs to be rolled out as far as possible in order not to break it.
Now place thick heaps of almondpaste. on top of the angel hair and model it in de form of a big sausage with your hands.
Rol the sausage very carefully into the angel hair and when the almond paste is full rapped cut of the hair. Repeat this with the rest of the hair and paste.
Preheat the oven to 150°.
When the oven tray is full with angel pastries you poor over a little of the melted butter, just enough to grease the pastries a little.
Now place the pastries in the oven and let them bake for about 30 minutes. The angel hair must become crispy and golden brown!
In the mean while add the water, the sugar and the cinnamon stick together in a pan and bring this to the boil. Let it simmer for 10 minutes and then add the orange juice. Let it simmer again for 10 minutes.
Let the syrup cool and poor it over the hot Tyrokafteri when it comes out of the oven.
Heat a non stick frying pan on a low fire and add the almond powder to it. Stir constantly until the powder gets a hazelnut color.
Let the roasted almond powder cool for a few minutes, before mixing it together with 2 tablespoons of icing suger, the cinnamon powder, the orange blossom water en a little bit of melted butter.
Mix this into a sticky dough.
Take a sheet of phyllo and place a thin sausage of almonddough on to the sheet. Use the beaten egg to make the sides of the sheet a little sticky, so they won’t unfold in the oven.
Roll the phyllo with the filling into the form of a long sausage.
Now roll the sausage in the form of a snail. Use wooden pins to keep the snail in place.
Preheat your oven to 220 degrees, while you make little snails out of the rest of the dough. Now bake the pastries for about 10 minutes or until they go beautiful golden brown and crisp.
In the meanwhile heat in a little pan on a low fire 3 tablespoons of honey with a splash of orange blossom water.
When the pastries come out of the oven you shower them with the fragrant honey sauce. Once the M’Hancha cool down a little sprinkle them with some chopped almonds and a little bit of icing sugar.