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Of Baklava and Homemade bread

November 17th, 2008 | 4 Comments »

And I am a little shamed to admit that I didn’t prepare either one for their special day(s). Welcome to the slacker version of National Baklava Day and National Homemade Bread Day. It promises to be short and sweet. Literally.

For what it’s worth I did intend to make some bread, but unless I seriously set aside a chunk of time and don’t allow anything else to interfere, it just doesn’t happen. That time should have been a lazy Sunday afternoon at home, but instead I had a lazy Sunday afternoon in the warm cocoon of my sister-in-law’s kitchen and my best intentions were knocked aside for the promise of familial love. Although it may sound crazy to some food-obsessed individuals, I will set aside any food plan if it means spending time with my family. I know my priorities. Besides, search for homemade bread, bread from scratch or any number of options for creating a yeasty orb from your own kitchen and you are inundated with options. No one needs another agonizingly long, step by step process of making bread at home. Mix, knead, rise, punch, shape, rise and bake. Got that?

So instead of waxing on about the merits of homemade bread, which we really all should know about anyway, let’s talk a little bit about Baklava. A very little bit.

I’ve never made in from scratch, nor do I intend to make a pan. Although it is delicious and I won’t ever turn down a piece, the labor-intensive process isn’t something I am thrilled to undergo, no matter how amazing the result. I am very blessed to live in an urban area where one can find some incredible ethnic cuisines and authentic Greek food is not lacking one bit.


Baklava is usually considered Turkish in origin, but the true beginnings of this rich pastry dessert are actually not very clear, although plenty of information dates it to the Byzantine Empire. Regardless of where it began, the method for creating it remains pretty consistent across the board, given only to variations for the filling based on an individual’s preferences. Layers of butter-brushed phyllo dough are filled with a mixture of nuts, then baked to a golden hue before being drenched in a sweet honey syrup. It’s decadence for certain and not a recipe inclined for a neophyte baker; like I said, I have no interest in ever making it although I am certain that with my agonizing attention to detail and rather obsessive nature, I would likely make a righteous pan of it if the desire ever struck. Thanks, but no thanks. I would rather gaze at photos like the one above and read over someone else’s recipe.

See? I told you it would be short and sweet!