Well, our foray into Greek food this month didn't start off so well. The first three recipes we tried were a bust.
The first one was a fish dish called Cod Plaki. The poaching liquid completely overwhelmed the fish, plus it was too complicated to ever make again. The second one was a Spiced Roast Lamb which Tom made and thought was only so-so. And the third was my attempt to make Greek Easter Bread which completely bombed.
But luckily we found "a keeper" with this baklava recipe.
I was intrigued that it uses pistachios for the nuts and a rose water syrup instead of honey. Cardamon is the spice. The result is exotic and quite lovely. Less messy to eat than the honey version, too.
(from the Mediterranean cookbook by Hermes House)
for the pastry:
3 cups ground pistachios (a little less than a pound)
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 T. ground cardamom
2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
18 sheets of phyllo pastry
for the syrup:
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups water
2 T. rose water
Defrost the phyllo dough overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature 1/2 hour before using.
Determine what size baking pan will work with the phyllo dough. My sheets were 9x14 so I used a 9x13 pan which is a close as I could get. I just let the extra inch of dough creep up the edges.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Melt the butter.
Add six more layers of phyllo, brushing each with melted butter, evenly and thoroughly, especially the edges.
Layer in the rest of the nut mixture, then press down firmly with your hand or a flat spatula.
Place the pastry in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.
Then, turn up the heat to 400 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes or until well browned.
When it is cool, use a firm, i.e., rigid, spatula to lift the baklava out of the pan. Serve with the remaining syrup.
Decadent and delicious!