way back when in my pastry school days, chef divulged that the secret to amazing baklava laid in the usage of brown butter, rather than simply melted butter. the caramel nuttiness of brown butter enhances the flavor of the pistachio mixture and intermingles with just about everything in between the mille-feuilles of phyllo crust. i remembered chef’s advice, while i decided what to do with the quart or so of apple compote i had left in the fridge. i figured i could marry the two concepts and concoct an apple compote baklava.
the baklava emerged from the glistening in golden brown hues. i could definitely smell the apples; however, the nut mixture seemed to over-power the apples in taste. i think in the future i’ll tweak the recipe a bit more to have more apples, less nuts, and involve apple juice in the making of the steeping syrup for a truly apple-ly baklava experience.
Apple Compote Baklava v. 1.0
(makes one 9×13 inch tray, about 2-3 inches deep)
|For the Baklava|
|Browned Butter||1 lb (4 sticks); melt butter in a sauce pan until it begins to brown slightly. Watch the butter carefully, as it will go from being deliciously browned to bitter and burnt rather quickly.|
|Phyllo (Filo) Dough||1 package (16oz); i use the fillo factory brand available at whole foods. Each sheet folded in half fits my plan perfect (13×18”)|
|Apple Compote||1 quart per a layer; if you want to do more than 1 layer, you need more. See recipe here.|
|Pistachios or Almonds||200g per a layer; i had 2 layers in my original recipe|
|Cinnamon||1 tsp per layer|
|For the Syrup|
|Water||2 cups (~500 ml); in the future, i might substitute the water with apple juice; and then cut the sugar down to 1 cup|
|Sugar||2 cups (~500 ml)|
|Honey||½ cup (~125 ml)|
|Apple||1 apple, washed, cored and sliced into quarters|
|Cinnamon stick||1 stick|
- In food processor, coarsely grind up nuts.
- Mix nuts together with cinnamon and set aside.
- Brush pan with generously with butter (preferably not browned butter).
- Place 6 layers of filo dough on bottom of pan, generously brushing with browned butter between each layer. (note: if you’re using 18X13 inch phyllo, cut the layers in half lengthwise, so that you have 9×13 inch sheets. cover with a clean towel between use, as the filo dries out very quickly).
- Spread one layer of nuts evenly on top of 1st phyllo layer.
- Place 6 more layers of filo on top of nuts, brushing with browned butter between each layer.
- Spread a layer of apple compote (or nuts if that’s what you like). Repeat step 6.
- Repeat step 7 and 6 one more time. The top layer should be comprised of filo.
- With a sharp knife, cut the baklava into diamonds. Make sure you cut through the bottom of filo pastry.
- Bake at 350ºF for 45-60 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Make the syrup while the baklava is baking. Combine all syrup ingredients into a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil and allow the liquids to reduce by 1/3.
- Then set aside to cool. [Remove apple and cinnamon stick when ready to pour over baklava].
- When baklava is ready, remove from oven and pour about 1/2 the syrup over. Wait for 10 minutes and then pour over the rest of the syrup.
- The baklava is ready to eat when it has entirely cooled.