The coronavirus pandemic has changed everyone’s daily life. People are going out less and looking for ways to save money. These changes have probably led you to make more food yourself, hopefully learning more about the culinary arts and different types of food along the way. There are millions of exciting dishes and cuisines out there and I hope you’ve taken this opportunity to become acquainted with more of them. If you’re looking to change up your routine and try a new dessert, I recommend taking a closer look at baklava.
Baklava is a delicious dessert from Turkey that has been adopted into many cuisines in neighboring regions, including Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. The word “baklava” is believed to come from Mongolian (the ancestor of Turkic languages) and means “to pile up”. This is because, traditionally, baklava is made with 40 paper-thin layers of filo dough (a mixture of flour and water stretched into sheets), layered with chopped nuts, honey or syrup, and spices. There are many varieties of this dessert. The most common Turkish variety is fisikli, or pistachio. Kuru, or dry, baklava, is made with a thick syrup that absorbs into the pastry. Cevizli is made with walnuts and tends to have a more bitter taste. Bülbül yuvasi means “nightingale’s nest”. The name is derived from the way this type of baklava consists of filo dough rolled into a ring with the nuts in the center, so it looks like a bird’s nest. The entire surface is doused with the syrupy glaze and it has a slightly tougher texture than other varieties. Sütlü nuriye means “milky radiance”. This variety is brushed with milk, giving it a lighter, silkier taste. (It does spoil more quickly, however.) Fistik sarma is pistachio baklava made into rolls. Turkish baklava tends to use a sugar syrup, lemon juice, and omit spices, whereas European varieties tend to use honey and spices such as cinnamon. Sometimes, Middle Eastern recipes add rosewater to the syrup.
Baklava has a sweet, buttery taste with the thin layers of dough absorbing all the flavors of the filling. It is an irresistible dessert that you can feel less guilty about eating: Unlike many desserts, baklava is much lower in carbs due to the thinness of the pastry. Also, traditional recipes contain natural sweeteners such as honey and syrup, decreasing the need for the addition of refined sugars. Cinnamon and nuts are also healthy additions to any dessert, both supplying vital nutrients.
You can find many recipes for baklava in Mediterranean, Eastern European, or Middle Eastern cookbooks, as well as online. Dozens of variations exist, including recipes that incorporate chocolate, fruit, meringue, etc., so you’ll be sure to find one that suits your tastes. Many stores sell frozen filo dough (usually with other baking and pastry items such as pie crust) to save you the time of making it yourself. The hardest part of making this dessert is handling the filo dough: It sticks to everything very easily and must be maintained at the correct temperature to prevent this. The dough should be left in the refrigerator to prevent absorption of moisture which makes it sticky. Additionally, cutting the baklava into pieces before baking it is much easier than after, as the dough becomes very brittle once baked. Baking baklava can also be somewhat more time-consuming than other desserts. However, this dessert can easily be made ahead, since giving the filo time to absorb all the syrup improves the flavor. (Allowing the syrup to cool before pouring it on the warm filo also helps with this.)
If you would like to try baklava without the hassle of making it yourself, you can order it from Russian Doll Catering. When I bake baklava, I use my grandmother’s recipe which incorporates honey, fresh lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts. It’s incredibly popular, with just the right amount of stickiness and delicious flavors that blend well. I can’t wait to share it with you! You can order it in-store or online. I make 12 dozen squares of baklava fresh and from scratch each day for customer orders. I sell it by the dozen or in platters. It would be a great gift to send someone, to show you’re thinking of them during these difficult times, or make a delicious dessert for a special family meal, or simply eat as some comfort food during these difficult times. You can pick up your order or have it shipped (through UPS, etc.). I can also deliver under certain conditions. My baklava ships well- the taste and flavor are still fresh when the customer receives it. In fact, many say giving this dessert more time to allow the filo to absorb all the syrup makes it taste even better! I am taking all necessary precautions to ensure that all foods are prepared and handled safely to prevent any possible contamination. Work surfaces, food storage spaces, and all equipment used are frequently cleaned and sanitized. If you come to the store to pick up your order, I recommend that you wear a mask and let me know a time you plan to arrive.
Here are some of the photos of the finished product
Here (Baklava) is a video of the baklava after I’ve taken it out of the oven.
-“OMG!! Just had baklava from Russian Doll. Whenever you need the special something or something just delicious- just let Fenya know it!”
-“OMG thank you. I tried it, it is soo good”
-“Fenya shows her love and passion in her amazing baklava. Delivery was quick and appreciated. It was some serious decadence. I highly recommend her baklava and I’m about ready to order more. Thank you so much.”