Posted by: A Part of the Solution | November 15, 2010

Baklava Variations

Suppose you don’t want pistachio baklava as it is traditionally prepared on the Iranian plateau. Suppose you don’t have a good source for fresh, shelled pistachios. Suppose you just like to mix it up and experience different classical flavor combinations in a guaranteed-to-delight delivery. This is all for you, then.

Vanilla Bourbon Pecan Baklava

Referring to the Baklava Template

In the syrup:

Substitute brown sugar for white (or vanilla sugar, if you have lots on hand + 1 TBSP molasses)

Use 3/4 cup water + 5 TBSP Bourbon

Leave out the cinnamon and cardamom

Finish the syrup with 2 TBSP more Bourbon once the syrup is off the heat, instead of rose water

For the assembling:

Leave out the cinnamon

Use vanilla sugar if you have it

Grind up 1/3 a vanilla bean with the 1/2 cup sugar in any case

substitute 3/4 lb, 12 oz, chopped toasted pecans for the pistachios

Walnut Orange Baklava:

Referring to the Baklava Template Recipe:

For the syrup:

substitute 3/4 cup water + 5 TBSP Grand Marnier for the water

substitute coriander and cumin for the cardamom and cinnamon

add the zest of an orange to the mixture when adding the other spices

substitute 2 TBSP Grand Marnier for the rose water

For the assembling:

If you have orange sugar (place the zest of an orange in a container full of sugar and, shaking occasionally, leave it to steep for a couple of weeks–or indefinitely), use it here

Use ground coriander instead of cinnamon

Substitute toasted, rubbed walnut pieces for the pistachios

Maple-Pumpkin Seed Baklava:

Referring to the Baklava Template Recipe:

For the syrup:

Substitute 3 cups maple syrup (B is best here) for the sugar and water. Boil this down for 12-15 minutes instead of 8.

Use cumin seeds and the cinnamon stick for flavoring here

For the assembling:

Toast 1 lb of pumpkin seeds until brown and slightly puffed. When slightly cooled, pulse these in the food processor with the sugar and cinnamon (and salt) until coarsely chopped

Cherry Almond Baklava:

Referring to the Baklava Template Recipe:

For they syrup:

Use 3/4 cup water + 5 TBSP Kirsch or cherry brandy

Omit the cardamom

Finish with 2 TBSP more of Kirsch or cherry brandy + 1/2 tsp almond extract

For the assembling:

Use 3/4 lb, 12 oz, of toasted, chopped almonds in place of the pistachios

(If desired, soak 3 oz dried cherries in Kirsch or brandy, drain them and add them to the baklava with the almonds–unexpected and delightful!)

Hippy Baklava:

Referring to the Baklava Template Recipe:

For they syrup:

1 1/2 cups honey and 1 cup + 2 TBSP water instead of the sugar and the water as originally given

omit the cardamom and add black pepper corns instead

For the assembling:

Lightly toast 3/4  lb, 12 oz, sunflower seeds (raw, shelled, unsalted), coarsely chop these

substitute date sugar, or coconut palm sugar, or Succanat for the sugar

If you plan to serve more than one kind of baklava, do cut them into contrasting shapes so that your guests, or recipients, will be able to work out which kind of baklava goes with what polygon.

These keep beautifully for some time, owing to the sugar syrup, if they are stored in an air tight container. They’re as good as the day they were made for five days. But by nine or ten days they should be eaten up or thrown out.

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