Monday, August 2, 2010

Vegan Baklava

I don't know what my deal is with greek food this weekend. All of a sudden I am obsessed with making greek food and then magically, yesterday, one of my favorite movies My Big Fat Greek Wedding was on. It's like, fate or something.

So this baklava was something I actually made on Friday night so the baklava officially came before the movie. But yesterday the movie was on and I wasn't really watching it, persay. the television was just on while I was taking care of other things. I did stop though, for the wedding day prep scene. I'm sure you know the one... when the gaggle of bridesmaids are getting ready, scantily clad with rollers in their hair and mud masks on their faces. They are all turned toward Tula when Nick (the brother) comes in and says 'hello ladies... fresh baklava!' They all turn around to reveal their girly hideousness and he takes a picture.... ha ha ha!! Just thinking about it makes me laugh! Ha!


Anyway, so I feel like it is fate or something, that I made baklava, I have this sudden fettish with making greek food and then the movie comes on. I have no clue what fate is telling me but I'm 99% sure it has no significance on anything whatsoever, so rest assured.

As I said, I made this baklava on Friday for a little dinner we had with friends. They brought a delicous (and I mean DELICIOUS) greek salad and pita bread and I made something totally NOT greek: lentils with kind of an indian spice and prawns. And of course the baklava. When I brought it out after dinner Mark said 'and this doesn't have any butter in it?' I shook my head, no. He took a bite and said 'oh man, there are greeks rolling over in their graves right now.' I took that as a good thing. Which it was. Because he finished it. All. And then took a picture of his empty plate. I'm glad you liked it Mark :)



It WAS really good! And as I have already said, I normally don't have any strong attraction to greek food or phyllo dough. It's never held an interest to me... until now!!! I found this recipe on allrecipes.com (since I had no clue how to make baklava) and then, of course, modified it. Here is my delicious and dairy free (except the phyllo... I didn't look but I'm sure it's not) baklava.


Need: (serves 4... aka it's a very small baklava)
5 oz chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
About 1/4 of a package of phyllo dough
1/3 cup Earth Balance, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
3 Tablespoons agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lime zest

Do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Butter your pan... I used my small Mario Batali loaf pan. Note: this recipe makes a very small baklava so keep that in mind when choosing your pan. That or just double/triple it to make it in a bigger pan.

In a bowl, combine the walnuts and cinnamon and mix together.

Unroll phyllo dough and cut it to match your pan length. I say this because the Mario Batali pan that I used was long and quite narrow; it's about 2 inches wide.

Lay two sheets of phyllo into the bottom of your pan. Sprinkle some of your walnut cinnamon mixture on top; just enough to cover the phyllo. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used, finishing with a phyllo dough layer.

Using a sharp knife, cut the uncooked baklava into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces. Again, adapt this depending on what kind of pan you are using.

Put your pan into your oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden and crispy.

While your baklava is cooking, prepare your 'sauce'. In a pan on the stove, combine sugar and water and bring to a boil. Stir in agave nectar, vanilla and lime zest, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Note: keep an eye on it and stir continually so you don't get a sticky gross mess in the bottom of your pan.

When baklava is done in the oven, remove and immediately pour the 'sauce'on top. When I did this it simmered something crazy against the hot baklava pan. That's ok. Pour it on and then leave it alone. That means let it sit until it's cooled.


Serve:
I'm pretty sure ice cream is not a 'traditional' partner to baklava but I was already breaking the rules by not using butter so I thought, 'why not?'. I used Purely Decadent vanilla against a perfectly portioned slice of baklava atop one of my awesome garage sale plates!


It was so good... really rich so you don't need much, but flavorful, fun to eat and obviously was a big hit.


Enjoy!
Phyllo Dough

9 comments:

  1. Score on those totally cute plates! I love dishes.... the one thing I collect and have no space for. Okay - and Baklava has to be one of my favorite desserts. It is flaky, sweet and delicious. I have been wanting to make a HUGE pan of it... and never do...PHYLLO DOUGH FEAR - not really, it is just to delicate and breaks very easily. glad it turned out for you and maybe I will get out and actually make this! foodie love from wisconsin! megan

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  2. I've never seen phyllo dough with dairy in it, so I'll bet your baklava was totally dairy-free. I never would have thought of pairing the sticky sweetness of baklava with ice cream, but goodness gracious, they look absolutely incredible together. I cannot wait to try your baklava recipe with Purely Decadent vanilla bean coconut milk ice cream. I'm drooling just thinking about it!

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  3. This looks so good! I've yet to make baklava at home, partly because having a huge pan of it around would be dangerous for my waistline, but this batch is a perfect size!

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  4. Foodalution, thank you! I was pretty excited about them too :) And I felt the same way about phyllo dough... it wasn't too bad though! Give it a try :)

    Shirene, cool! I haven't looked at the packaging but that would be doubly fantastic if it were dairy free :) the ice cream was a nice touch... thank you for all the kind words. I hope to 'see' you around soon!

    Almost Vegan, I am so with you! This was indeed a good size even though we still had some left over. I had to 'get rid' of it... danger to my waistline too!

    Rick, Thank you so much! It was fun to make and way too delicious :)

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  5. This looks so good! I'm still kinda nervous working with phyllo (I've only used it once before) but you make it look so simple! Love it! :)

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  6. Thank you Azmina! I had never worked with it before either... it wasn't too bad though! I'd probably want to throw it against a wall if I had to be more 'precise' with it though :)

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  7. I love baklava. I'll have to try to make it again, it's been years but my first attempt was a condensed, gooey mess. ;) Yours looks perfect!

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  8. Healthy Mamma.... Thank you! It was quite easy too which was a pleasant surprise :) If you get a chance, let me know how it turns out! :)

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