Expanding on our Greece: Trending Edibles post (featuring the Summer Fancy Food Show’s fresh-off-the-shelf Greek/Mediterranean foods),
we continue our spotlight cooking series with Distillery Pilavas’ spiced Tentura and pine-like Mastiha liqueurs—both of which add a new dimension to pastries, as well as sipping as a digestif in a straight-up shot.
The following baklava recipe is perfect for the holidays and is sure to inspire your next baking adventure.
PREP TIME: 1 hour, plus thawing and standing
BAKING TIME: 50 minutes
SERVINGS: 30 pieces
1 cup unsalted butter or olive oil
1 pound chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, or a combination)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (16 ounce) package #4 or #5 14-by18-inch phyllo sheets, thawed and brought to room temperature according to package directions
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Distillery Pilavas Tentura or Mastiha
Whole cloves, for garnish
1. Heat oven to 325°F. Butter/oil the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
2. In a medium bowl, toss the nuts with the cinnamon. Set aside.
3. Unroll the phyllo dough and cut the entire stack in half to fit the prepared pan. Cover the phyllo with a clean damp kitchen towel to keep it from drying while you work. Place 1 sheet of phyllo in the pan (lining the bottom), brush the entire sheet with butter/oil. Repeat with phyllo and butter/oil until you have a total of 6 sheets in the bottom of pan. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Cover with 2 sheets of phyllo, brushing each sheet with butter/oil, and follow with nuts. Repeat until all the nuts are used. The top phyllo layer is made up of about 6 sheets, each sheet brushed with butter/oil, making sure the top sheet is brushed well.
4. Using a sharp knife cut the baklava into diamond shapes (cut 4 long rows, then cut diagonally) all the way to the bottom of the pan. Insert a clove into the center of each piece, if desired. Bake about 50 minutes, until the baklava is completely golden brown.
5. Meanwhile make syrup: While the baklava is baking, in a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the honey and lemon juice. Reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the liqueur; set aside. (The syrup should be warm and the baklava hot when adding the syrup.)
5. Once the baklava has been removed from the oven, immediately ladle the syrup over the top, making sure to cover the edges. Adding the warm syrup while the baklava is hot will ensure the syrup is well absorbed and the phyllo remains crisp. Let cool completely at room temperature for at least 4 hours or overnight. (Can be made up to 1 day ahead. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature. Covering the top will make it soggy.)
Recipe copyright © Kukla’s Kouzina
About Distillery Pilavas
Products: ouzo, brandies, Tentura, Mastiha, and other liqueur varieties
Tentura, Patra’s traditional liqueur for over a hundred years and three generations, combines the aromas of carnation, cinnamon, and nutmeg with extracts of Mavrodafni (the region’s renowned sweet red wine) and has a flavor profile that invokes the essence of baklava.
Mastiha liqueur contains genuine mastiha tears from the mastic tree indigenous and exclusive to one island, Chios, providing this libation with a vibrant flavor that ignites the senses.
Enjoy these liqueurs as digestifs following a meal, as cocktail mixers, or straight up in a shot glass. Feel free to add a dash to your dessert recipes to give them a flavorful kick.
For stores, contact importer: Esteson Co., San Jose California, 800.682.4705; they’re also available online.
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Kali orexi! Good appetite!
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