recipes Archives - Parsley, Sage, and Sweet

Chocolate Marble Pumpkin Bark ‘Bars’ with a Nutella Cookie Bottom, and Salted Pepitas, for SRC

October 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Candy, Cookies, Holiday, SRC | 51 Comments
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I have never made any kind of chocolate bark.  No idea why..it’s one of simplest treats you can cobble together in no time, and the add-in possibilities are endless.  I’ve also never met or known a guy named Nigel who isn’t British, but that’s beside the point.  There have been a lot of  nevers in my life.  We all have a lot of nevers in our lives and some of them should stay nevers, but chocolate bark isn’t one of that should stay a never, for most.

Well..I just crossed the chocolate bark never off my list.  BUT, this did not come about until I made a no-bake cookie by my Secret Recipe Club blog assignment..Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic.  I love her blog..I loved all the goodies I could choose from..I loved her no-bake Nutella cookies, which I chose after mulling over many goodies.

Continue Reading Chocolate Marble Pumpkin Bark ‘Bars’ with a Nutella Cookie Bottom, and Salted Pepitas, for SRC…

Homemade Chevre, Cheeseballs, and Cheese filled Turkish Flatbread for Cheesepalooza

September 30, 2012 at 7:04 am | Posted in Appetizers, Breads, Middle Eastern, Twelve Loaves, Vegetarian, Yeastspotting | 46 Comments
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So..I’m making cheese, goat cheese – chevre to be exact.  Valerie from A Canadian Foodie has challenged a bunch of us to start making cheese from scratch with her Cheesepalooza challenge.  I was extremely excited when she announced this challenge because I’ve always wanted to dabble a little in artisan cheese making.

No, the Red Hot Chili Peppers will not be performing, but they will be making an appearance in my cheese!

Continue Reading Homemade Chevre, Cheeseballs, and Cheese filled Turkish Flatbread for Cheesepalooza…

Potato Rosti with Bacon, Brie, Scallions and a Quick and Easy Brown Butter Applesauce

February 15, 2012 at 2:44 am | Posted in Breakfast, Daring Cooks, Dinner, Gluten Free, Pork, Vegetables | 44 Comments
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Happy Valentines Day, err, Eve, everyone!  I had this post scheduled to go up at 5pm last night.  Apparently I didn’t use GMT, so it’s now the 15th.  Well, it’s still Valentine’s Day on the West Coast! I hope you all had an amazing day and are now getting your lips kissed off – or eating chocolate.

For this month’s Daring Cooks Challenge, we were asked to make fried patties of some sort, and one of the recipes offered to us was potato rosti, which is sort of a mix between a giant potato latke and hash browns.  I added bacon lardons, scallions and brie to mine.  It was suggested that the use of a cast iron skillet was ideal, and I have three; an 8-inch, 10-inch and 12-inch, all well-seasoned, or so I thought.

Once the underside of my rosti was cooked, some careful inspection revealed there was no way I was flipping this baby over without it falling apart. SO, I stuck it under the broiler to finish it and brown the top.  We cut slices out of the pan, and it came out well, but it still would have broken into pieces had I tried to flip it.

I topped some slices with a sunny side up egg with roasted red bell pepper hearts (cutting the egg into a heart shape proved difficult since the white was so delicate and thin in some areas, but I did my best, and I think it still resembles somewhat of a heart ??).  For the rest of the rosti, I made a super quick brown butter chunky applesauce to top it, which was absolutely wonderful.

Potato Rosti with Bacon, Brie, Scallions and a Quick and Easy Brown Butter Applesauce

The Daring Cooks’ February 2012 challenge was hosted by Audax (my pal) & Lis (one of my wifeypoos) and they chose to present Patties for their ease of construction, ingredients and deliciousness! We were given several recipes, and learned the different types of binders and cooking methods to produce our own tasty patties.

With all that said, you have got to try my quick brown butter pan apple sauce, whether or not you make the rosti.  It came to me on a whim and I nailed it in one shot, which isn’t usually the case, so I’m a proud mama..sort of.

Potato Rosti Napoleon?  I sandwiched three slices of rosti with some extra brie and put it in the oven for a few minutes, then topped it with a quick pan brown butter apple sauce. A glorious tasting mess!

If you have a few minutes, please check out some of the unique, creative and delicious patties my fellow Daring Cooks came up with, by clicking on the links to their blogs, HERE.  For a bounty of recipes for all kinds of patties, from the challenge, click HERE.

Rest in Peace Whitney Houston.  The tragic loss of a beautiful woman with the voice of angel.

Potato Rosti with Brie, Bacon and Scallions
Servings: makes two large rosti
Adapted from a family recipe from the Daring Kitchen, with my additions
2 1/2 lbs russet potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons feshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons cornstarch, or use all-purpose flour
1 lb slab bacon without the rind, or thick cut bacon
7 oz wheel of Brie or any other good melting cheese you like.  Great with cheddar!
! bunch scallions, sliced, dark ends saved for garnish
3 tablespoons oil, for frying

DIRECTIONS:
1.  Dice bacon into cubes and fry until fat is rendered and it’s a deep rust color. Strain off bacon grease and save for another use. Set aside on a paper towel in a bowl.

2. Cut white, papery rind off of brie (you can keep it onI prefer it off).  Dice into small cubes, or shred, if brie is cold and firm.

3. Slice white and light green parts on the diagonal.  Save dark green slices, also sliced on the diagonal, for garnish.

4. Grate the peeled potatoes with a box grater or a food processor shredding disk.5. Wrap the grated potato in a cloth and squeeze dry, you will get a lot of liquid over ½ cup, discard liquid since it is full of potato starch. Return dried potato to bowl add the egg, brie, bacon, scallions, cornstarch, pepper, and salt. Mix until combined.

6. Preheat a frying pan (a well seasoned cast iron is best,  8 to 10-inch) until medium hot, add 2 teaspoons of oil wait until oil shimmers.

7. Place half of mixture into the pan, flatten with a spoon until you get a smooth flat surface. Lower heat to medium.

8. Fry for 8-10 minutes (check at 6 minutes) the first side, flip by sliding the rösti onto a plate then use another plate invert the rösti then slide it back into the pan, then fry the other side about 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Repeat to make another rosti.

Quick and Easy Brown Butter Cinnamon Apple Sauce
1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick – 4 tablespoons – 2 oz)
4 large Granny Smith (or any tart apples), apples – peeled, cored and chopped into cubes.
1/4 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar, entirely depending on how sweet you like it
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 good pinch kosher salt

DIRECTIONS:
1.  In a large saute pan, melt the butter on medium low heat.  Raise the heat to medium and cook the butter until the liquid beneath the milk solids that rise to the top is golden brown.

2.  Add the chopped apples to the browned butter and saute until the apples start to soften.  Sprinkle on the sugar and let the apples caramelize in the sugar, stirring until the apples are caramelized and soft  Remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon, vanilla bean or extract and kosher salt.

3.  Pour the apple mixture into a bowl, scraping out all the caramel goodness left in the pan. Mash with a fork for chunky apple sauce, or give it a whirl in the food processor (or use a blender or stick blender) for a smooth apple sauce.  When cool, place in an airtight container in the fridge – it should last about 2 weeks, or serve warm over potato rosti.


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I Found My Thrill……With Coconut and Lime Plus the Winner of the Custom T-shirt Giveaway and another Giveaway! GIVEAWAY CLOSED

July 4, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Posted in Cakes, Dessert, Fruit, Giveaway, Puddings | 154 Comments
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First off..Happy 4th of July to all in the USA, and Happy July 4th to everyone outside the USA!  I’ve got the blue and the white (well..yellowish) but not the red.  No matter, this dessert is pretty awesome, red, white and blue. or not.

So what do you do when you ask someone to pick you up blackberries, and instead they bring you blueberries?  Nothing, because summer berries are so interchangeable..and all will taste great in whatever recipe that called for one berry in particular.  Just my luck, about 5 minutes after receiving these blueberries, a tweet from Mark Bittman scrolled past.  Blueberry Pudding Cake.  I clicked on the link, then ditched my plan for a coconut blueberry custard pie.  I could essentially have all the components of my pie in this easy, quick, one batter cake.

I’ve made plenty of chocolate pudding, aka hot fudge, cakes in my day, and who hasn’t?  It’s one of the simplest cakes you could make..one quick batter in a square pan, pour boiling water on top, and voilà, chocolate cake with a fudgy pudding/custard saucy deal underneath.  When rushed for a dessert, or a sudden bout of PMS chocolate craving, it was always a win-win situation, and it only took about 30 minutes from mixing bowl to table.  Before anyone/I could say ‘cake’ they/Iwere/was eating big scoops of cakey, chocolatey goo with vanilla ice cream.

Blueberry Coconut Lime Pudding Cake

This pudding cake is simple, but it involves eggs and the separating of eggs.  I don’t know why, but when I see a recipe that involves separating eggs and beating the whites, which are then folded in, I cringe a little.  It’s not that it’s difficult, but when I’m in a ‘simple recipe’ mindset, it’s kind of like someone telling me the elevator is out-of-order and I need to take the stairs…the number of flights depending on the number of eggs.

Sometimes I’m a rebel, and just crack the amount of whole eggs in as is.

Sometimes the issue is forced when there’s a lopsided amount of yolks to whites.  Great..now I’m going to have leftover yolks or whites.  I’ll have to scour the net to find something to do with them outside of meringues, macarons and crème brûlée.  I’m not an egg white omelet person.  I like my omelets yellow.

In any event, I obeyed the recipe, and the results were worth it.  Of course, I made a few revisions to said recipe. As my usual mantra goes, I can’t leave most recipes alone..I always feel some could be better, or more to my liking.  I’m a futzer, a fiddler (a joker, a smoker and a midnight toker..sorry, had to) and I just can’t stop.  It’s a common thing in cooking, but baking not as much because baking is a SCIENCE and any little sway from the formula can completely change or destroy it.

My changes didn’t destroy it.  All I did was add some extra flavor, coconut and lime.  Kelapo Coconut sent me a sample of their coconut oil, so I used that instead of the melted butter, and I used lime zest in lieu of the lemon zest listed in the recipe.  Small changes, no big whoop, right?  Well..I felt it needed more coconut flavor, so I toasted some coconut and ground it with the sugar in the recipe.  Then, instead of plain buttermilk, I made coconut buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of  lime juice to the coconut milk.  The end result was perfect – plump, juicy blueberries floating in a sea of custard with a light, fluffy, slightly crisp, cake topping..a subtle background of coconut and the perfect hint of lime to cut the richness.

This is all great and good, but for the most part, you can’t tell that there’s coconut and lime in this cake pudding via the photos because I only had one lime and a bit of shredded coconut for the recipe.  When it came time for photos, I had nothing to top it with that said..’There is lime and coconut in this pudding cake!’.

Another reason I’m a bad food blogger.

I don’t think of these things until the last-minute, when it’s already too late.  As far as all of you can see, it’s just a blueberry pudding cake.  I suppose I could type ..’with coconut and lime’ under every photo, but I’m not that obsessive a person..I think…I hope.

Now, the GIVEAWAY.  Part one is a yummy one. Jen from Kelapo Coconut contacted me a few weeks back and asked if I would like a sample jar of their virgin coconut oil to try.  Of course it was an affirmative, I love trying new things.  However, I thought it would be cool if she could also provide an extra jar to give away to my readers.  Affirmative again.  SO, when the winner is announced, Jen will personally ship a 15 oz jar of Kelapo Virgin Coconut Oil to that winner.

Blueberry Coconut Lime Pudding Cake

I admit, at first I was iffy on coconut oil..I heard a buzz here and there that it was bad for us.  Apparently, new studies have reversed that charge and now they say it’s good for us.  UPDATE : a commenter named jean said that only the virgin and unrefined coconut oils are good for you, so Kelapo organic VIRGIN coconut oil, IS good for you! Refined coconut oil is NOT good for you.

Good to know, because coconut oil is also a flavorful replacement for butter, which is a plus for those who are allergic to dairy or just dairy-free in general.  It’s great for vegan cooking and baking too, not to mention a good substitute for neutral oils in most recipes. Personally, I love the stuff because it tastes and smells amazing, and I wanna saute something savory in it soon.  Coconut seared chicken something or other keeps sprinting through my brain.  Also, my friend, Suzanne just let me know that a health food store she shops at pops their popcorn in coconut oil.  Is that not a fantastic idea?  I’m definitely trying that!

The second part of this giveaway is the cookbook How to Cook Everything (10th anniversary Edition), by Mark Bittman.  I always wanted this cookbook, so I bought one for myself, and one for one of you!  It’s become sort of a habit now when I buy things.  One for me and one to give away here.

To enter this giveaway for both the coconut oil and the cookbook, leave a commentFor extra entries, you can leave separate comments for all or any of the below;

1.  Follow @parsleynsage on Twitter

2.  Follow @kelapo_coconut on Twitter

3.  Like Kelapo Coconut on Facebook

4. Tweet the following: A Kelapo Coconut Oil & Mark Bittman cookbook GIVEAWAY @parsleynsage http://t.co/NnhVqCG #giveaway

I’ll be choosing the winner 10 days from today using random integer.

Speaking of winners..the winner of the $50.00 worth of custom designed t-shirts from ooshirts.com is…

Number 19 is Carolyn of Cookin’ for my Captain!  Congratulations, Carolyn.  I will pass your email to Colleen at ooshirts.com so she can email you the code for your $50.00 worth of custom printed shirts!  I’m sure you’ll have fun making them!

Magic Blueberry Coconut Lime Pudding (Custard) Cake
adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, with my revisions – For the original recipe minus coconut and lime – click HERE.
About 6 servings, but I say more like 4 big ones
Time: About 1 1/4 hours, plus time to cool

4 tablespoons Kelapo Virgin Coconut Oil, melted, plus more for greasing dish
1 cup coconut milk minus 1 tablespoon, plus 1 tablespoon lime juice (or lemon juice or cider vinegar)
3 /4 cup sugar, divided
1/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted (sweetened or unsweetened, entirely up to you)
3 eggs, separated, plus one extra white (extra white not necessary, but I like adding it for more fluff)
1 /3 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1 1/2 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon grated lime zest

1. Combine the coconut milk with the cider vinegar or lime juice..let it curdle.  Grind 1/2 cup of the sugar and toasted coconut together in a food processor or blender.  Set both aside.  Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease an 8- inch square ceramic or glass baking dish or a deep dish pie plate with Kelapo coconut oil.

2. Put the coconut oil, coconut buttermilk, the 1/2 cup of coconut sugar, the egg yolks, flour, and salt in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Pour the batter into a bowl. Stir in the blueberries and lime zest and set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the 4 egg whites until they hold soft peaks, sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar while beating until the whites hold stiff peaks; fold them into the batter gently but thoroughly.

4. Turn the batter into the prepared dish and put the dish in a baking pan large enough to hold it comfortably. Add enough warm water to the baking pan to come to within an inch or so of the top of the dish. Transfer carefully to the oven and bake until the top is golden brown and the center is just set but slightly jiggly, about 50 minutes.

5. Remove the cake from the oven and cool the dish completely on a rack, cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours, before serving. This will keep in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days.  Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Magic Blueberry Pudding Cake - One batter morphs into cake, pudding and blueberry filling.


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Phyllo Fail..Baklava Success

June 27, 2011 at 1:39 am | Posted in Daring Bakers, Dessert, Giveaway, Pastry | 76 Comments
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Back in 2009, a friend and I were discussing my 1st Daring Bakers challenge hosting gig, trying to decide what I should challenge everyone with.  I was throwing out ideas, and like many first pitches in baseball, they were all over the place.  Baklava was one of them and then we both joked how hated I would be if I made it a requirement to make the phyllo dough from scratch.  I swear on every pair of jeans with broken zippers, I never thought I’d see the day.  Well, that day has come, and Erica, nobody hates you, and in fact, I think they’re loving it.

Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge.  Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.

Okay, it’s official..I suck.  I really do.  I gave it a shot, but not a good one.  We had a blast of humidity here, on and off the past month, and I just wasn’t able to muster up the motivation and desire to continue rolling out paper-thin sheets of dough for three hours.  I started and by sheet number 3, I threw in the towel.  They ripped, they stuck together, they laughed in my face, tatters of papery smirks.

I sloppily buttered each crumpled mess of my three annihilated phyllo sheets, sprinkled them with some of the sugar nut mixture for the baklava, then rolled them into roses (scrunch and roll, it’s actually quite simple), baked them, and plopped them on top of some of my baked baklava, drizzled with a little extra honey syrup.

I feel like a cop-out, but the truth is, I’m a horrible super, stretchy, thin dough roller. The proof is in the pudding – look at that strudel dough from back in ’09.  Everyone had gorgeous, stretchy, transparent sheets of dough that they rolled and stretched to kingdom come.  They could have been hung as sheer curtains, that’s how strong and perfect they were.  In the mean time, I was barely able to roll mine larger than a trash can cover, and it was completely unyielding.  It just sat, wouldn’t budge, no matter how long I covered it to let the gluten rest, then tore in half when I tried to lift it with the tops of my hands to stretch it.  I just used what I had, and ended up with maybe two flaky layers upon baking.  Master FAIL.

I think I just have to accept the fact that I’ll never be part of any tablecloth-dough stretching team for strudel or phyllo.

However, I’d never made baklava before, so this was definitely a challenge for me.  Thankfully, I bought 2 lbs of phyllo as backup, almost expecting the above phyllo failure.  With that said,  I am no longer intimidated by the process of putting together a baklava. I always put off making it, thinking there was no way I wouldn’t end up with a mess of crumpled phyllo as I layered it in the pan.  Oh, and the cutting/scoring part..I swore it would be impossible and I would end up pulling and tearing each square or diamond into an inside out mess before baking.

Well..none of the above happened, so I’m pleased as punch.  But, there’s a problem. I can’t stop eating it..and it’s scaring me.  I’m scared because I can feel my organs ready to burst in protest as each morsel of drippy baklava permeates my system with sugar.  I don’t think I’ve ever had this much sugar in my body at once, and I don’t think I’ve had this little sleep either.  I’ve been on a constant sugar high every night for the past week, but it’s just so damn good, I can’t help it.


I’d like to share a little of my history with baklava and sticky, dripping Greek (actually of Turkish origin, thanks to Emre!) pastries in general, with you all.  When I was in college, there were several pizzerias peppered throughout the streets of our city campus.  They each had a purpose, so they were all used, none left out.  One pizzeria was the after bar/clubbing pizza place.  You always went there after an alcohol-laden evening, even those who were hooking up.  It was fun seeing booze-induced couplings scarfing down gooey pizza before the inevitable boink .  Oh, and the pizza was good.

Another place made phenomenal subs.  In fact, every time I walked in, the owner knew ‘my sandwich’ and immediately got it started, and it was always absolute perfection.  It was a hoagie roll, split, spread with mayo, topped with provolone, toasted, then piled with crabmeat salad, the real stuff.  I know it sounds gross, but I loved it.

The next one was the ‘after game’ pizzeria, or after all classes pizzeria, for those who liked to supplement their food plan with pizza.  Sort of a college version of a first course, well, several first courses, prior to the main meal.

Finally, there was the baklava pizzeria.  We called it that because there was always a fresh pan of homemade baklava on the counter next to the cash register. It was a small place, so when it would get really crowded, my roommate, and others would grab a piece or two from the pan and scurry back to our table with devious looks.

Thievery!  Criminals! It was bad, but the baklava was oh.so.good.  This is where and when I fell in love with baklava.  I craved it immensely.  I couldn’t go in that damn place without buying a piece (Yes, I did pay).  This is also when I knew baklava was a very dangerous little pastry and it led me to other dangerous Greek pastries and many a Greek festival at Greek churches near every place I lived after college, where I indulged shamelessly.

Well..I managed to break the habit and stay away.  In fact, I hadn’t had baklava or any Greek or Turkish pastry for about 10 years prior to this challenge.  Now I know how to make it.  I’m SO screwed.  What’s even worse is, they make phyllo sheets to fit 13 x 9 pans perfectly, so it makes for quick and easy layering.  Once again, SO screwed.

Since I copped out on the homemade phyllo, and had 2 lbs of store-bought phyllo, I didn’t make a small 9 x 9 inch pan of baklava, which was the recipe given to us so we wouldn’t have to roll out 30 to 40 sheets of phyllo.  With 2 lbs of phyllo, I made a version of THIS RECIPE for a 13 x 9 pan ( I used the syrup from the challenge, though, with a few changes).  I love and curse this man at the same time.  This recipe is pretty much a compilation of all the awesome baklava I’ve ever had, from the pizzeria in college to every Greek festival I’ve ever been to.

I did make some changes.  I used equal amounts of cashews, pistachios and walnuts, but then realized I was a cup short of 6 1/2 cups of nuts and the only nuts I had left were macadamias.  I guess you could call this a crazy combo nut baklava, but it’s good crazy, as in, I wish I could stop eating it and trash it ‘good crazy’.  I also added a little fresh squeezed orange juice to the syrup, along with cinnamon sticks, orange peel and split and scraped vanilla beans, to flavor it before straining.

A few quick notes and hints;

  • Pour hot syrup on cooled baklava instead of cool syrup on hot baklava.  This prevents a soggy bottom
  • Even though I didn’t tear the slices of baklava inside out, I’m a horrid baklava cutter.  My rows were not only incredibly uneven, but raggedy.  Three sizes of baklava in one pan.
  • A super duper sharp knife comes in handy, as does a super sharp ability to draw straight lines.
  • Yes, I did attempt to make each slice pretty with phyllo hearts.  FAIL.
  • I didn’t want diamond shapes, I really wanted squares!
  • Baklava can last a month if the water in the syrup evaporates when cooked down, or obviously, if you don’t use water in your syrup.
  • Make this, then give it away after one piece.  You’ll thank me later.
  • I just ate another piece.

To see all the real Daring Bakers, the ones who actually made and rolled out tons of sheets of phyllo, and turned out some gorgeous baklava’s, click on the links to their blogs, HERE.  To get the recipe, plus step- by-step photos, for phyllo and the challenge recipe for baklava, click HERE.

My Nutty Take on an Awesome Baklava Recipe
adapted from, with my revisions, John’s Jotttings

Baklava
2 pounds phyllo dough (approx. 40 sheets)
2 cups finely chopped walnuts
2 cups finely chopped unsalted cashew nuts
1 1/2 cups finely chopped unsalted pistachio nuts
1 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 pound unsalted butter (melted)

Syrup
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups honey
1 cup water
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 cinnamon sticks
1 large vanilla bean, split
1 long strip of orange peel, pith scraped off

DIRECTIONS:
Make the Syrup:
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium pot, scraping the vanilla bean into the mixture and throwing in the pods.  Heat over medium high heat. Stir occasionally until sugar has dissolved.

2. Boil for 10 minutes, stir occasionally. Once boiled for 10 minutes remove from heat and let cool.  Do not strain yet, let the flavors steep in the honey, water and sugar until the baklava has baked and cooled.

Build the Baklava:
1. Grease a 13×9 pan (bottom & sides) and set aside. Mix well the nuts, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place a pan of water on the bottom rack.

3. Set aside one full-size sheet of phyllo dough. Cover with plastic wrap.

4. Cut remaining phyllo sheets into 13×9 sheets. Actually, measure your pan and cut the sheets to match the actual inside dimensions. On my pan it is actually 12″ x 8″, for example. With a big sharp knife you should be able to cut all of the phyllo at the same time. You will most likely have a lot of left over phyllo – consider finding another dish where you could use the smaller pieces of leftover phyllo dough.

5. Carefully lay the full-size phyllo sheet into the greased pan, folding over the pan edges. With a pastry brush, liberally apply melted butter.

6. Lay a cut sheet of phyllo into the bottom of the pan, and with a pastry brush liberally apply melted butter. Repeat 9 more times, so that you have the one full sheet and 10 smaller sheets as your bottom layer.

7. Sprinkle 2 cups of the nut mixture into the pan. Lay 6 more sheets of phyllo on top, making sure to liberally apply the melted butter between each sheet. Repeat this 3 more times, so that you have 4 separate layers of the walnut mixture. For the top layer place as many phyllo sheets on top as you have remaining, again making sure to liberally butter between each sheet. Using a sharp plastic spatula, carefully fold over the large sheet of phyllo that should still be extended over the edge back onto the top, so that you can see down the inside edges of the pan. In effect you now have one big baklava package wrapped with your initial phyllo sheet. Using a very, very sharp serrated knife, carefully score the baklava into whatever shape you want. A diamond pattern is the traditional shape. Try to cut about half-way down into the baklava when you do this.

8. Bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours at 300 degrees until brown.

9. Let the baklava cool completely.  Strain the syrup, then reheat until hot. Slowly pour over the cooled baklava.  Cover with plastic wrap and let the baklava absorb the syrup for at least 4 hours.  Can be kept refrigerated for up to a month.

Note from John: When working with phyllo be sure to work fast and keep the unused portion covered with plastic wrap at all times, as it tends to dry out pretty fast. Also, be sure to carefully follow the defrosting instructions on the phyllo – the sheets will stick together if you try to do a “speed defrost”.


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