A Delectable Pastry Filled with New Year’s Resolution Crushers

03Jan07

Baklava is a Middle Eastern pastry often times made with chopped nuts and dried fruit, sprinkled in between layers of crisp phyllo dough, and altogether sweetened with sugar and honey syrup. Aka once you bite into these chocolate baklava, you’ve completely screwed over your New Year’s Resolution.

 

I gave these as holiday gifts at my office and they were an instant hit. They stay moist for days because they’re drizzled with simple syrup enriched with the flavors of Christmasy goodness.
The Good News: Bring these suckers to work and your office hottie will commend you for your oh so domestic quality. And if you’re a guy bringing them to work…well..every girl loves a cook.

The Recipe:
(courtesy of www.epicurious.com)

Chocolate Date-Nut Baklava

Syrup
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Pinch of ground allspice
Pinch of ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves

Filling
8 ounces (about 2 cups)
walnuts
6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch pieces6 ounces (about 1 cup) I did 3 oz. of bittersweet and 3 oz. of semi-sweet. But just using bittersweet should be enough because the syrup makes the whole thing sweet anyways..
whole pitted dates I added dried apricots and cherries.. feel free to add whatever dried fruit you have on hand.
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 egg, beaten to blend
11 sheets frozen phyllo pastry (about 1/2 pound), thawed3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

For syrup:Bring all ingredients to boil in heavy small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling 1 minute. Cool completely. (Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Cover and store at room temperature.)

For filling:Combine 8 ounces walnuts, 6 ounces chocolate, dates, sugar and cinnamon in processor. Coarsely chop using on/off turns. Transfer filling to medium bowl. Mix in egg.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Lightly butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch metal baking pan.

Place 1 phyllo sheet on work surface (keep remainder covered with plastic and damp towel to prevent drying). Brush phyllo with butter. Top with second phyllo sheet and brush with butter. Arrange sheets buttered side up and lengthwise in prepared pan, covering bottom and ends of pan. Brush another phyllo sheet with butter. Fold phyllo in half forming 8 x 12-inch rectangle and brush with butter. Repeat with 2 more phyllo sheets. Place 3 folded phyllo sheets in bottom of pan, buttered side up. Sprinkle half of filling over. Butter another phyllo sheet and fold in half. Butter top and place atop filling. Sprinkle remaining filling over. Repeat buttering and folding with 3 more phyllo sheets. Place atop filling. Butter last 2 phyllo sheets. Place lengthwise in pan, tucking in sides and ends of top and bottom sheets to enclose filling completely.

Carefully cut through top layers of phyllo (do not cut through to filling) to form twenty-four 2-inch squares (You need to cut them now and not after they bake because the phyllo dough will be too crispy to cut through). Pour any remaining butter over. Bake until top is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Immediately spoon syrup over baklava. Cool completely. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight.

Makes 24 pieces.Bon AppétitFebruary 1991
Epicurious.com © CondéNet, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Restaurant:

Jin Patisserie
1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
tel: 310-399-8801

Hrs: Tuesday to Sunday 10:30 am-7:00 pm
Closed Mondays.
http://www.jinpatisserie.com/
Cute little asian girl who used to be a flight attendant decided that she no longer wanted to eat plastic wrapped in plastic so she went to culinary school. She realized her hatred for serving plastic food translated well to serving delectible, very edible, tarts and pastries. Served alongside tea, they are a great treat to have on a Saturday afternoon.

How cute is she.

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