I went to a Greek food festival last night, and I noticed something I had not seen before. Apricot Baklava. A woman sitting at my table told me that she wants to kill herself after she makes them, they totally wreck your kitchen in two minutes flat, she said.
I looked at online for a hint as to how these are made, the recipes I saw called for nuts and bread crumbs, which these didn't seem to have. Also, the online recipes called for the baklava to be layered in a pan and then cut into triangles, the ones from the food festival were rolled individually.
Are there any Greek Church ladies out there to help me figure this unique recipe out?
pistachio and apricot baklava with orange cardamom syrup
need: 8x8x2" baking pan
6oz. dried apricots, preferably californian
1 cup (4-1/4 oz) plus 1/2 cup (2-1/2 oz) raw unsalted shelled pistachios
1/4 cup (1-3/4oz) plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 pound filo, room temp
6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter, melted and lukewarm
1/3 cup (2-3/4 oz) freshly squeezed and strained orange juice
1/2cup plus 2 tablespoons (4-1/2 oz) sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4cup (3 oz) honey
place the dried apricots, 1 cup pistachips, and 1/4 cup sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until the mixture is very fine and chopped. 20-30 seconds. each component should still be discernible, though in very small pieces, not a puree. transfer to a medium bowl.
place the remaining 1/2cup pistachios and 1 tablespoon sugar in the bowl of the food processor and process until the nuts are very finely chopped. about 10-15 seconds. transfer to a small bowl.
to prepare the filo:
remove from the package and unfold it so that the stalk lies flat on your work surface. cut the stalk in half crosswise, then trim each half to measure 8X8 inches. stalk them on top of each otherm then cover with plastic wrap and a damp towel to prevent it from drying out. discard the excess trimmings. remove one sheet of filo and place it on the bottom of the pan to see that it fits snugly. it should touch the edges but not creep up the side of the pan.
take out a sheet of filo and place in the bottom of the pan. brush it lightly with the melted butter. a sheer coating is all that is needed. repeat with 5 more pieces of filo. sprinkle the top sheet with 2 tablespoons of the chopped pistachios. top with three more sheets of filo, buttering each one lightly. sprinkle with another two tablespoons of the nuts, top with three more sheets of lightly buttered filo. evenly spread about 1/2cup of the apricot mixture over the top. top with three more sheets of filo, buttering each one. sprinkle with another 1/2cup of the apricot filling. repeat this process twice more, using all the remaining filling.
top with threesheets of lightly buttered filo, then sprinkle with two tablespoons of chopped pistachios. repeat once more. reserve the remaining nuts for garnish.
finish the baklava by topping the pistachios with 6 sheets of lightly buttered filo to match the original 6 sheets in the bottom of the pan. place the pan of baklava in the freezer for 30 minutes- this makes it much easier to cut the pastry.
preheat oven to 350
to cut the chilled baklava:
use a thin, sharp knife. maybe a steak knife with tiny sharp serrations works best... when cutting, use a gentle sawing motion and try not to compress the pastry by pressing down on it. cut the pastry, all the way to the bottom of the pan, into thirds in one direction, then turn the pan 90 degrees and cut into thirds again. you should have 9 squares. cut each square in half diagonally to form 18 triangles.
place the pan in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, then turn the oven down to 300 and bake another 20-25 minutes, until it is a golden color. remove and place on a rack to cool completely.
for the syrup:
place the oj, sugar, and cardamom in a small sauce pan over medium heat. insert a candy thermometer and cook until it registers 218 degrees F. remove from the heat and stir in the honey, return the pan to the heat, and cook,just until the mixture returns to a boil. immediately pour the syrup evenly over the surface of the COOLED baklava in a thin, steady stream. sprinkle with reserved pistachios. let it sit, uncovered, at room temperature. allow plenty of time to absorb the syrup before serving, at least 2-3 hours. baklava is best served 8 hours after its made.
store loosely covered with plastic wrap or foil, at room temperature for 3-5 days.
almond and apricots.
follow same recipe substituting 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole natural almonds to grind with the apricots. and 1/2 cup almonds to grind with the tablespoon of sugar.
this recipe is from a cookbook i have called "desserts, mediterranean flavors, california style." by cindy mushet.
let me know how it turns out PLEASE!
I made this recipe above today for our dinner club this evening. I made a few variations using confectioner's sugar in place of white sugar in the filling and using all honey in the syrup and a bit of orange blossom water to finish the syrup. It turned out delicious! Thanks to the original poster for sharing the recipe!
I have an Armenian version I have at home I will post if you want it. It's not called paklava (armenian) or baklava (greek), and I'm not exactly sure how to spell it. But it's rolled up on a wooden dowel then slightly pushed in on both ends then baked. If this sounds like it, let me know.
You may have a real research project here. If the ladies at the festival won't share the recipe, you could check around to see if any of the Greek churches have ever put out a cookbook that has the recipe. Good luck. I like stuff made with apricots. A recent thread mentioned apricot sticky toffee pudding. That caught my attention, too.