Yeah, that should probably be in the dictionary… RIGHT under Vegan Maple Syrup Baklava. The definition of the aforementioned word states: the onomatopoeic sound made through the half-opened mouths of darling young ladies while eating vegan maple baklava after drinking a few glasses of champagne.
Umm… obviously I spent too much time over the last few weeks studying for the GRE – I’m becoming a verbal genius.
Ok, now this is when (if you’re not already really excited) you get excited!
My friend, the beautiful baker magician, and I have come together to magnify our forces in the kitchen. If you follow these posts at all, she is the wonderful person that I made the speculoos macarons for. But, in all honesty, she is the one that should be baking for ME! She is a talent and a half. Tonight, she showed me a few of her tricks, and together we made:
Ok, to digress slightly before you get into the actual recipe part of this whole whirlwind of sweet, sparkling happiness… The last few weeks have been busy. Very busy. Everything has calmed down A LOT now, but previously to tonight, life = hectic. When life = hectic, I don’t get too much time to have wonderful play dates with my friends. Instead, I actually do that thing some students call “studying”. Phew, thankfully those busy days are over (for a week or so)… and in the near future, I just forecast fun. To kick off the fun, an epic baking session had to happen. And, what would an epic baking sesh be without champagne? So after a (not so) complicated discussion on how to choose the champagne (choice not by price, nor name, nor vineyard, nor complicated number picking out of a hat gimmick, but only by the fact that the colour of the champagne lable was purple), we set off to my little kitchen to create one of my friend’s specialties: baklava. Obviously, we’ve adapted it especially for Bakecetera. Obviously.
(Slightly adapted from: http://vegweb.com/recipes/vegan-maple-baklava)
Vegan Maple Syrup Baklava - What you need:
- 500 gram package of phyllo dough
- 450 grams nuts (we used ((approximately)) 250 grams of walnuts, 100 grams of pistachios, 50 grams of hazelnuts, and 50 grams of these amazing Turkish chick pea puffs that we found at the Turkish store – but really, use WHATEVER you like!)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 200 grams vegan margarine, melted
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar (we used vanilla sugar – nom.)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup maple syrup
Vegan Maple Syrup Baklava – What you do:
Open a bottle of champagne, take a sip, relax.
Pre-heat the oven to 180c.
Roast the nuts in the oven for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After, roughly chop them, or pulse them a few times in a food processor. You don’t want them to be too fine, some pieces are nice to chew on in the final product.
Put the nuts in a large bowl, and then stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
Now, it’s time to work fast! Make sure you have a good 20 minutes to dedicate yourself to the baklava.
Take the phyllo dough out of the package, and drape a damp towel over the phyllo sheets to keep them moist and pliable. This will ensure that the pastry doesn’t break or crack. This is not so important for taste, but if you happen to be a perfectionist, I would recommend this step.
Line a baking pan that has edges at least 3 centimeters high with parchment paper to prevent the baklava from sticking.
Place two sheets of the phyllo dough into the baking pan. With a pastry brush, spread the melted margarine onto the pastry. Repeat this step with eight sheets of phyllo pastry, brushing the dough with margarine between each new sheet. (Make sure to keep the phyllo covered with the damp cloth while working with the baklava!!)
Add a layer of nuts on top of the freshly margarine-applied phyllo dough. The layer should be about half a centimeter thick, or around a fourth to a third of a cup of chopped nuts. The thickness you choose depends on how you prefer your baklava.
Add two more sheets of pastry, brush with margarine. Then continue to add individual sheets of phyllo, brushing after each one, until eight more sheets of phyllo have been applied to the baklava dish.
Using a sharp knife, cut diamond shapes into the baklava.
Bake for 45 minutes at 180c, or until the baklava turns golden brown and crispy.
While the baklava is in the oven, start the maple syrup sauce. In a small saucepan, boil the water and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. This takes about five minutes. After, add the maple syrup and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
Once the baklava is finished, take it out of the oven and immediately pour the maple syrup sauce over the baklava. Top with the left over nuts. If your pieces aren’t cut too well, this is a good time to touch them up.
Some recipes suggest that you allow the baklava to cool… um, we both found this step to be completely unnecessary… but it’s up to you.
This night was the perfect cure for a stressful few weeks. Deep sigh of relief inserted here.
Baking soundtrack – tunes to inspire your inner baker:
So, independently, my friend and I both LOVE Parov Stelar, and as we were listening to him tonight whilst baking, she said that this song reminded her of Romania (where she’s from). I love it! And it was a perfect fit for the mood of the evening.
And then this one is just an amazing old favourite…
Parov Stelar – The Mojo Radio Gang (P.S. Awesome video!)
To preserve some of my dignity, I'm going to neglect to comment on which side of the baklava was mine...