Recipes 10 and 11 from the book are favorites of mine from Greece. I broke out the filo dough and made us some spanakopita and baklava. For those of you who are unfamiliar with spanakopita, the book calls it spinach pie, but that really doesn’t do it justice. It’s more like a rectangular quiche that heavy on the spinach and completely surrounded with buttery, flakey, crispy filo dough. It’s absolutely delightful.
Baklava, for the sad souls out there who have never had the privilege of indulging in this treasure, is a a dessert of layers of chopped nuts and crispy filo dough absolutely covered in a honey syrup.
We made both tonight.
The recipe for the spanakopita was really easy and very good. I didn’t make any modifications to this recipe. The recipe for the baklava however, needs some work. The recipe from the book calls for a cup of sugar to be mixed in with the nuts and another two cups in the syrup. It was way too much sugar and the cup that was in the nuts left the baklava with a very grainy texture. Also I expected more honey in the syrup, so I modified the recipe, a lot.
Since the resulting recipe ended up baring very little resemblance to the recipe in the book, I will share my modifications.
Thaw filo dough in the fridge and heat oven to 325.
I mixed 3 cups of chopped nuts (half pistachios and half almonds, but you can also use walnuts) with 2 teaspoons cinnamon and set aside.
Then I melted 1 1/2 sticks of butter.
brush the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan with butter, add a sheet of filo dough, brush with butter, gently add the next layer of filo dough. Continue until you have 7 layers. Brush top with butter and add half of the nut mixture. brush the top of the next filo dough with butter and lay on the nuts butter side down. butter the other side (which is now facing up). Continue with the filo dough until there are 6 layers. Add the rest of the nut mixture and repeat the process with the rest of the dough, making sure the top layer is brushed with butter. Score the top sheets with a sharp knife. make 4-5 rows and 7-8 columns. If you score the columns diagonally it looks more authentic.
Bake for 1 hr.
While baking add 2 cups honey, 1/2 cup water, and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then decrease heat and simmer for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes you can add 1 tablespoon vanilla, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, or both (for flavor).
Cool for a bit before pouring over baklava (I would finish cutting the baklava first so the syrup distributes evenly, but you can wait too). Cool completely.