Monday, June 25, 2012

Maple Bacon Baklava

Maple Bacon Baklava

I know what you're thinking. I can see it in your eyes. You don't think you can make baklava. In fact, you're sure you don't even want to try. It's too complicated. The phyllo dough is too delicate. You'd rather bake a cake or a pie.

Don't be discouraged. I'll help you. Step by step. It's really easy. And I have a confession. This was my first time making baklava. You read that correctly. This was my first time. My baklava inauguration.

Now, I made sure to scour the internet for lots of input and instruction and I found this awesome video that showed me what to do and how to do it.

The video gives instructions on how to make a more traditional baklava with nuts, honey, butter and lemon, but I wanted to add bacon to mine and add some maple flavor to the syrup to compliment the bacon, so I adjusted the recipe accordingly and not only did it exceed my expectations, it turned out addictively wonderful.

First the phyllo dough. It's in the freezer section in the grocery store and comes in one pound packages, two half-pound rolls. Take out one roll, which is about 20 sheets of phyllo dough and allow it to thaw at room temperature.

While the dough is thawing, cook a pound of bacon until it's really crisp, but be careful not to burn it. Remove it from the pan to a paper towel to drain and cool. Then chop it up, put it in a bowl and set it aside.

Maple Bacon Baklava


Put one 8-ounce package of walnut pieces into a food processor and pulse a few times until the walnuts are finely ground. Don't run the processor too long each time. Just a few quick pulses, otherwise you'll get walnut butter and that's not what you're going for.

Maple Bacon Baklava


Now, mix the ground walnuts and chopped bacon in a bowl with about 1/3 of a cup of brown sugar. You can use dark or light.

Maple Bacon Baklava


Put two sticks of butter in a small saucepan and melt it over medium heat, being careful not to scorch or burn it. Just let it melt slowly. Once the butter is melted, turn off the heat and let it sit. Get a clean kitchen towel, run it under the faucet until it's wet all the way through, then ring it out until it's just damp.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Are you ready? Open the roll of phyllo dough and discard the paper. Gently unroll the phyllo dough until it lays flat on the counter. You can use a cookie sheet if you feel uncomfortable letting it rest on the counter. Cover the dough with the damp towel. Meanwhile, pull a 9- X 13-inch baking pan out of the cabinet and set it aside. There's no need to grease the pan or use a cooking spray. The butter will keep it from sticking to the pan.

I know there are baklava recipes that caution you to butter each layer of phyllo dough. We're not going to do that. It's really not necessary and you'll see why in a little bit.

Uncover the phyllo dough and put one layer of phyllo dough in the bottom of the pan. If it comes up the sides a little, that's okay. Now put down five more layers, for a total of six layers of dough. Sprinkle about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the bacon/walnut mixture over the first layer, so it looks like this...

Maple Bacon Baklava


Top the bacon/walnut mixture with two layers of phyllo dough. If the dough tears or cracks, just gently move it in place and continue with layering the phyllo dough and bacon/nut mixture until you have five layers ending with the bacon/nut mixture. You should have used all of the bacon/nut mixture and have about six sheets of phyllo dough left. Place the six sheets of phyllo dough one at a time over the last layer of bacon/nut mixture.

Now, you're going to cut it. It's okay. You'll do fine. Take a deep breath. Grab a sharp serrated knife and get started. I made my first cut lengthwise down the middle. I would recommend that you do the same. Gently cut all the way through to the bottom of the pan, holding the phyllo dough in place with the fingers of your free hand on either side of the knife. I made bite-sized pieces (like a 2-bite brownie).

Maple Bacon Baklava


You're not going to cut it in the opposite direction just yet. Now it's time for the butter. Turn the heat back on under the butter to warm it back up again. Once it is hot, use a spoon to pour the butter over the baklava, making sure that it drizzles down into the cuts. Use all of the butter. If it settles on top of the baklava, pick up the baking dish and rock it back and forth so that any remaining pools of butter soaks into the cuts and down the sides.

Maple Bacon Baklava


Now that the phyllo dough is soaked with the butter, it will make it easier to cut in the opposite direction into individual pieces. Using the same method you used for cutting lengthwise, turn the pan and cut the baklava into individual pieces, holding the phyllo dough in place with the fingers of your free hand.

Maple Bacon Baklava


Okay, the nerve wracking part is over. The rest is smooth sailing. Put the baklava in the preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until it is a golden brown.

Maple Bacon Baklava


While the baklava is in the oven, prepare the syrup. In a small pan, heat together 3/4 cup pure maple syrup and 1/4 cup of water. Bring the syrup to a boil and simmer for a few minutes. Keep it hot, but do not boil down.

As soon as you remove the baklava from the oven, use a spoon to drizzle the hot syrup evenly over the baklava. Use all of the syrup.

There. You're done. You've made baklava.

Maple Bacon Baklava


Of course, two little pieces are missing, but that's okay. You had to taste it to make sure it met your expectations.

Maple Bacon Baklava

  • 1/2 pound frozen phyllo dough, thawed (about 20 sheets)
  • 1- pound bacon, cooked until very crispy and chopped
  • 1 - 8-ounce package walnut pieces, ground
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) butter
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine bacon, walnuts and brown sugar in a bowl. Set aside.

Gently unroll the phyllo dough and cover with a damp towel to keep it from drying out.

In a 9- X 13-inch baking pan, lay out six layers of phyllo dough one at a time on top of each other. Sprinkle about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the bacon/walnut mixture over the first layers of dough. Lay two sheets of phyllo dough on top of bacon/walnut mixture. Sprinkle again with 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the bacon/walnut mixture. Continue layering bacon/walnut mixture and two layers of phyllo dough until you have five layers of the bacon/nut mixture. You should have used all of the bacon/nut mixture. Top last layer of bacon/nut mixture with six remaining phyllo dough sheets, one at a time.

Using a sharp serrated knife, make your first cut lengthwise down the middle. Gently cut all the way through to the bottom of the pan, holding the phyllo dough in place with the fingers of your free hand on either side of the knife. For individual bite-sized servings, cut six equal lengths. Do not cut in the opposite direction yet.

Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat, being careful not to scorch or burn. Once it has melted, use a spoon to pour the butter over the baklava, making sure that it drizzles down into the cuts and along the sides. Use all of the butter. If it settles on top of the baklava, pick up the baking dish and rock it back and forth so that any remaining pools of butter soaks into the cuts and down the sides.

Now that the phyllo dough is soaked with the butter, it will make it easier to cut in the opposite direction into individual pieces. Using the same method you used for cutting lengthwise, turn the pan and cut the baklava into individual pieces, holding the phyllo dough in place with the fingers of your free hand.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

While the baklava is in the oven, combine the syrup and water in a small pan and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, but keep warm.

When the baklava is done, remove it from the oven and drizzle immediately with the hot syrup. Allow to cool completely before serving.

4 comments:

CJ - Food Stories said...

Thx for connecting with me on foodbuzz. I just subscribed to your blog feed and can't wait to see what your next post will be!

Christin@fortmillscliving said...

OK.. I think you've given me the courage to attempt Baklava. Really want to know what the bacon tastes like in it.

Terri said...

Thanks, CJ. Let me know what you think.

Christin, you will love the bacon in this. I took most of the pan into the place where I volunteer and everyone raved about it.

Mariz Denver said...

Whether it's a crisp shard garnishing bread pudding or crumbles on maple ice cream, bacon is subtly making its way into desserts. I really need to try this recipe now.

Mariz
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