Some weeks ago I told you that I was working on an interview post or posts. I still am. But I have realized that I think of it as a "big job", and what with all that's been going on in my life, I don't have the excess mental energy for a big job.
I also realized, however, that I don't want to avoid this site until I have more mental energy. So I'm putting the interview on hold (sorry, Lindsay!) and plan to post random whatever here. I'm not even going to stick to the schedule I worked out for NaBloPoMo. I'll just post whatever comes into my head. So I may BE guilty, but I'll feel better!
Here is a recipe my family makes every Easter. It's all gone already -- except what I hid for Maggie -- but just thinking about it makes me smile!
Mom's* Baklava -- yield depends on how big you cut the pieces
*(I'm "Mom"; I adapted this recipe from a couple that I found in an old PTA cookbook)
Grind 1 ½# walnuts.
Stir in 2 T sugarand 1t cinnamon.
Melt 1 ½ - 2# butter. Skim off the “crunchy” top layer, and pour the clear golden part into another container. (This makes clarified butter.)
Cut in half sideways (hamburger ;-)* !) 1 # filo (fillo, phyllo) sheets, thawed overnight in refrigerator, and then two hours on counter (still wrapped). Lay filo sheets on their wrapping or plastic wrap, and cover with plastic wrap and a damp towel. Replace the plastic and the towel each time you remove a sheet.
Brush the bottoms of two 9” by 13” baking pans with melted butter. Place ½ filo sheet in each pan. Brush with butter. Repeat with 4 more sheets. After brushing the fifth sheet with butter, sprinkle on some** of the nut mixture. Repeat layers of filo, butter, and nuts until nuts are gone, reserving 5 half-sheets of filo for top of each pan, each brushed with butter. Dribble any remaining butter evenly over both pans,
With a sharp knife, score through all layers into diamond shapes. (I cut straight lengthwise of the pan into 4 or 6, and then cut diagonals.) Stick whole cloves into the diamonds to help hold them together. Bake at 300° for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until golden brown.
While pans are baking, make syrup. Boil together on stove or in microwave (watching very closely) 1 cup honey, 2 cups sugar, and 3 T lemon juice. Use a large container, as it foams up very high. Let cool slightly.
Remove pans from oven and drizzle syrup evenly over baklava. Let cool. When cool, recut diamonds, making sure to cut all the way through. Store at room temperature for up to a week, or longer refrigerated. Warm to room temperature before serving.
* When I was teaching my kids how to fold laundry, we came up with the designations "hamburger" and "hot dog" for folding things crosswise and lengthwise respectively.
** It is better to put on too many nuts near the bottom and have to stretch them later than to skimp at the bottom and overload the top. The latter makes cutting more difficult.
Let me know if you try this! It's yummy, but definitely a special-occasion treat.