I found myself in the kitchen recently- despite my New Year’s determination to bake a little less- because I have a Greek Friend. I’m sure I’m not unique in having a Greek Friend. There’s no doubt that, if I checked, I will find I have more than one. But I am having the Greek Friend over for coffee next week, along with other parents, and I wanted to make Baklava for her.
Baklava is something I grew up with: a delicious morsel of sweet syrupyness that goes perfectly with coffee that is so thick you can stand a spoon in it, and made in a little copper coffee pot on the stove. The comforting dark brew is balanced perfectly with this crispy, gooey, nutty pastry which is cut into diamonds and leaks honey slowly onto the plate.
And yet I’ve never made it. I imagined it to be tricky. Turns out it’s not.
1 pack Filo pastry (about 12 sheets, halved)
150g butter, melted
400g nuts- your choice, finely chopped. In fact I ground mine in the hand-blender.
200 ml water
1 tsp. Rose Water
The principal is much the same as lasagne: alternate layers of pastry with nuts.
Line a 20cm square baking pan. I love my Pampered Chef baking pan. FYI.
Brush a layer of filo and stick another on top, brush with butter and repeat until you have about 6 layers. Lay them in the bottom of your pan. Sprinkle with a layer of nuts.
Place two sheets of buttered filo on top. Sprinkle with nuts.
Repeat until you have six sheets of filo left. Or you run out of nuts.
Use the remaining filo sheets (yes, buttered) to top the whole shebang, then cut into squares. Traditionally they are diamond-shaped, but I lacked the mental capacity for that.
Bake in a preheated oven at 175C for about 35 minutes until the pastry is nicely crisp. This may vary: I have the oven of doom that tends to cremate things so probably cooked it for less time than I should.
Whilst the pastry is baking, make the syrup. Put water and sugar in a pan over a low heat until dissolved. Once dissolved, add in the honey and totally optional flavouring: I chose a scant teaspoon of Rose Water, but you may like to use Vanilla.
Anyway, bung that in and simmer for about 20 minutes.
At which point, if the stars have aligned, you should be able to get your baked pastry out of the oven and pour the syrup over the top. Do half at first and see how quickly it is absorbed. Then add the rest a couple of minutes later if you need to. Leave it overnight for the syrup to be absorbed and the flavours to set and the general sticky Greekiness (totally a word) to set in.
Try to eat in a restrained fashion.
Fail. (that’s me, not you. I’m sure you’ll be more restrained.)
Obviously, given that this post is part of the Around the World in 12 Dishes linky, it would have been great if the children had got involved. I know they could have helped with everything but they just weren’t in the right frame of mind. Dimples was interested by “what’s that smell” and licked the corner of a piece but didn’t try more and LBG fundamentally disapproves of ‘new’ food. I’ll try again though. They have my genes after all- I don’t believe they won’t love it when they try it.
Welcome to “Around The World in 12 Dishes”. We will be taking you on a journey around the world, (loosely) following in Phileas Fogg’s footsteps, exploring 12 different countries with our children, by cooking 12 dishes with them. One for each country visited.
The world is such a wonderfully diverse and colorful place. Our children see maps, flags and books. They see postcards and maybe they see films about the world.. but let’s really bring it to life through food! Taste and smell don’t often get explored, we think this would be wonderfully fun and interesting for you and your children.
Not only is it an exciting and different way to learn about cultures, but cooking with children brings a host of benefits – from numeracy to science. How can you beat that?
Adventures In Mommydom, Creative Family Fun, Domestic Goddesque, Glittering Muffins, Here Come The Girls, Juggling with Kids, Kid World Citizen, Kitchen Counter Chronicles, Mermaids’ Makings, Montessori Tidbits, Mummymummymum and The Educators’ Spin On It have come together to help you on your food journey and will each cook a dish with our children and post about it – to help inspire you to have a go! Then go out there, cook, blog, and join in the linky fun! Check out the other great posts as well!
Around the World in 12 Dishes
We had started our journey the same way Phileas Fogg did in London, UK, and now are arriving in Athens, capital of Greece!
- March 4 – First country was the UK
- April 1 – The second country was Sweden
- May 6 – The third country was Russia
- June 3 – The fourth country was India
- July 7 – The fifth country was Japan
- August 5 – The sixth country was Australia
- September 2 -The seventh country was French Polynesia
- October 7 – The eighth country was Mexico
- November 4 – The ninth country was Brazil
- December 2 – The tenth country was Morocco
- January 13 – The eleventh country is Greece
How to join the fun!
- The only mandatory part is the dish, the rest is all up to you, we just thought it would be fun and more concrete to the kids as to why we are making a unusual dish.
- Cook a dish from Greece: The goal is to explore this country through FOOD and activities if you wish. Make a typical dish (sweet or savoury) from the country with the kids, take photos and have fun!
- Typical dishes: Gyros, Souvlaki, Spanakopita, Baklava.
- Print your passport: Click here to download, comes with space for a photo of the child with the dish. Here is a little cover for it if you wish 🙂
- Color a placemat: Once colored/painted or whatever other way you want to do this, you can laminate it or put it between clear contact paper to use it over and over. Great conversation piece for you and your kids. Click here to download it.
- Make a craft: you can make a country related craft with the kids [optional!]
- Fun fact: Santa Claus is Greek. St Nicholas was a rich Greek that used to donate his money to the poor.
- Share with us: Our Greek challenge starts on January 13th and will remain open for a year, so attach a link to your blog to enter the linky party or go to the comment section and post a photo together with what you did together with your child(ren).
- Pinterest: We will add your photos to a “Around the World in 12 Dishes” Pinterest Boards (one for the dishes, one for the crafts) you will be a great source of inspiration for everyone 🙂
- Are you a blogger? Let your fans know about the challenge and grab our cute lil’ button to share it on your blog.
Please check out our partner blogs and their Greece ideas: Adventures In Mommydom, Creative Family Fun, Domestic Goddesque, Glittering Muffins, Here Come The Girls, Juggling with Kids, Kid World Citizen, Kitchen Counter Chronicles, Mermaids’ Makings, Montessori Tidbits, Mummymummymum and The Educators’ Spin On It
Please link up your Greek dish and/or craft in our linky below, we would love to see it!