What a joy it was, being with some of my favorite people at Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel in Los Angeles as we prepared for our Rhodesli Luncheon. Spending many hours on their feet, this group came, recipes in hand, ready to prepare our traditional dishes with love. All were willing to share their recipes, techniques and ideas, and encouraged others to participate and learn. Their time and effort is greatly appreciated…..and the love came through in the delicious foods they prepared and served at the luncheon!
Baklava is a sweet pastry made of layers of Filo dough filled with chopped nuts and bathed in a sweet syrup. It is labeled as a Turkish, Greek or any of a variety of Middle Eastern delicacy. Our families made it on the Island of Rhodes, so we claim it as our own.
There are many variation in making Baklava. Different communities feature different nut mixtures and dIfferent configurations when baking. My mom makes a rolled variety. Here is her recipe:
Kaye Hasson Israel makes Baklava
1 Lb prepared FIlo Dough
5 Cups almonds, ground (or other nuts of your choosing)
1 C Sugar
1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 C oil in a small bowl.
1/2 C Tasted Sesame Seeds (optional)
Prepare a mixture using ground nuts, sugar, cinnamon and gloves. Set aside.
Open package of Filo. Keep moist and usable by placing a moist cloth over the waxed paper covered batch of Filo that you are not currently using ( otherwise, Filo has a tendency to dry out).
Place one layer of Filo on your work surface. Brush with oil. Place a second layer of Filo directly on top. Brush second layer with oil.
Sprinkle nut mixture in a thin, even layer on brushed Filo. Top with one additional sheet of Filo. Brush with oil.
Begin to roll Filo tightly. Slice rolled Filo log at a diagonal. Cut approximately 1 inch in length. Place cut pieces on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes (Since ovens vary, watch as it bakes…when it begins to take on color, you can remove from the oven)
Allow to cool.
In the meantime, prepare syrup.
1 1/2 C Honey
1 1/2 C Sugar
1 C Water
Combine all ingredients. Boil on stove. Cook until it becomes “sticky” (if you have a cooled bit between your fingers, it should form “strings”)
When syrup is ready, pour over tray of baked Baklava. Allow syrup to soak in.
For serving, “soaked” piece of Baklava can be placed in size-to-fit paper Bake Cups (often called Cupcake liners) and placed on a serving platter.
My good friend, Linda Capeloto Sendowski, in addition to being one of the most fun and positive people I know, is a veteran gourmet food blogger. She has published a video of my mom making Baklava as well as a few photos of our cooking day on her blog, The Boreka Diary. Check her blog often…. she is a wonderfully creative cook!
Aron Hasson has also published some pctures on the Rhodes Jewish Museum site. Another fun site to browse!!!
Enjoy visiting our sites….tell us about your cooking adventures.