Baking Baklava: the only thing to fear is fear itself.

I’m pretty sure the first time I’d ever heard of Baklava was from the Disney movie Aladdin. At least, that’s the first time I remember being conscious of what it actually was. I’d certainly never eaten it before that point, and honestly, didn’t even eat it until quite some time after. And when I did finally eat it for the first time in all it’s delicious nutty syrup-y glory, I never in a million years thought, “One day I’m gonna make this myself!”

My how times change.

Even after two years of pastry school, I still hadn’t made it though, so when I was presented with the challenge of making it, I admit, I was nervous. I’m supposed to be good at this – what if it’s a giant fail? I couldn’t bear to face that potential outcome, so, I decided to make it and only reveal the finished product if it turned out decent.

I started with the nut mixture – almonds, walnuts and pistachios. So far, so good.

I then began the layering process – Phyllo dough sheets, nuts, more sheets, more nuts…

…until no nuts remained.

what lies beneath…

Next, I had to cut it. I was nervous about this part – one false move could end the whole thing.

a cut above.

Next up, baking. While it baked, I made the syrup. I also sampled the syrup – repeatedly. After I was finally 100% sure that it was, in fact, unbelievably delicious, I removed the baked baklava from the oven, poured the syrup carefully over top, and garnished it with finely chopped pistachios.

Baklavalicious!

Success! I waited until it cooled down, and ate a piece just make sure it passed the smell, sight AND taste test. This morning, again to be 100% sure, I had to have another piece. Now, it’s up to the people to decide its fate tomorrow, when I unleash my baklava out into the world (and by world, I mean my co-workers). 🙂

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