Find a good place to hide the leftovers NOW.
The book: Cooking Light Global Kitchen: The World’s Most Delicious Food Made Easy, by David Joachim (Oxmoor House, $29.95 – here’s my complete review)
The recipe: Chocolate baklava
Why I tried it: To be honest, I think it was just because I already had the phyllo in the freezer, as well as a wide selection of nuts. It’s possible I also wanted an excuse to buy some Nutella, which for me falls firmly in the want-to rather than the have-to shopping-list category.
Why I loved it: I like baklava, but I’ve never been an addict. This recipe changed everything. The baklava looked perfectly OK when it went into the oven. But when it came out: Oh. My. God. Those crumbly layers of glistening phyllo. That subtle crunch. The chocolate. The butter!!
I made this recipe twice. The first time, I hid the leftovers so I could have them for “lunch dessert” (which is a very special time of the day for me). I tried to eat each piece only with my incisors, so it would last as long as humanly possible.
The second time, we had company. There were, I think, 10 people. There weren’t any leftovers, but I did manage to sneak 4 “servings” before it was gone.
Estimated preparation time: According to the book, “Hands-On Time: 25 min. Total Time: 1 hr. 21 min.” This is true if you already toasted the nuts and remembered to thaw the phyllo last night.
Another great recipe from this book: Indonesian vegetable salad with peanut sauce (“Shortcut gado-gado”)
Serves 24 (serving size: “1 piece.” HA!)
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 cup hazelnut-chocolate spread (such as Nutella)
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup blanched toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
24 (14 x 9–inch) sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
1/2 cup butter, melted
1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat; stir until honey dissolves. Increase heat to medium; cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 230° (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat; keep warm. Discard cinnamon stick.
2. Preheat oven to 350°.
3. Place hazelnut-chocolate spread in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave on high 30 seconds or until melted. Combine hazelnuts and next 5 ingredients (through salt).
Lightly coat a 13 x 9–inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Working with 1 phyllo sheet at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), place 1 phyllo sheet lengthwise in bottom of prepared pan, allowing ends of sheet to extend over edges of dish; lightly brush with butter. Repeat procedure with 5 phyllo sheets and butter. Drizzle about 1/3 cup melted hazelnut-chocolate spread over phyllo.
Sprinkle evenly with one-third of nut mixture (about 1/2 cup). Repeat procedure twice with phyllo, butter, hazelnut-chocolate spread, and nut mixture. Top last layer of nut mixture with remaining 6 sheets phyllo, each lightly brushed with butter. Press gently into pan.
4. Make 3 lengthwise cuts and 5 crosswise cuts to form 24 portions using a sharp knife. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until phyllo is golden. Remove from oven. Drizzle honey mixture over baklava. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cover; store at room temperature.
From Cooking Light Global Kitchen by David Joachim (Oxmoor House)