Monday, November 16, 2009

Agave Baklava

Baklava is a family vice. Of course, no one in the family's ever made any themselves, much less imagined that anyone in the family ever would. So I had a certain feeling that making the Agave Baklava (page 439) would impress and delight my parents especially much.

I was right. They thought I had bought it from somewhere and could barely believe my assertions to the contrary, especially after tasting it. And tasting it again, and again, before even turning their attention to the savory food. They all unanimously agreed, grandma and family friend included, that this was the best baklava they'd ever tasted. Did I mention baklava was a family vice?

The filling is amazing and it's all wonderfully syrupy without being overbearingly sweet. It's perfect. I don't say this lightly; I've had a lot of baklava throughout the years. But, seriously, it's perfect. (It's also changed my mind about walnut baklava, which I always thought inferior to pistachio; though you bet I'll be trying this with pistachio too next time.)

That said, it's very time-consuming. Don't underestimate how time-consuming it is—I did. It's not particularly difficult, but taking each sheet of phyllo (and there are a lot of sheets) and brushing it individually gets tedious fast, especially since they rip so easily and must be stacked fairly evenly. So for the first time in my life, my legs actually hurt later, and I work my gams hard. But boy am I glad I went through with it.

My guests liked it so much, in fact, that we decided to play a trick on our local friends by taking some to their house and pretending it was purchased. (My dad brings them baklava from a shop close to home often, so this seemed perfectly plausible.) They couldn't believe their taste buds either. Another case of “What do you mean these are vegan? No way!” (I've been getting that a lot lately.) Way.

Seriously, the whole book was worth it for this recipe and its reception alone.

- - Ulpia, purveyor of fine sweets - -


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