Friday, May 15, 2009

Baklava: Capturing the family recipes

Ever try to recreate Grandma's recipe? The one that she just 'makes' - and if she does tell you a recipe, it's most certainly not the same recipe that she actually makes. She'll forget an ingredient, or give the wrong amount for something... It's hard to capture the umpteen years of experience in a working and printed recipe!

I am happy that I am not the only one who has had troubles capturing these family treasures. While at a friend's house for dinner last night - a platter of baklava was placed on the table. Despite having eaten TOO MUCH for dinner - there was no possible way my taste buds would let me say no to this treat. While enjoying the rich, deep flavors - I had to ask about the recipe. So - R. explained the journey of capturing this recipe.

Grandma gave the recipe over the phone. Upon tasting the first batch, Grandma declared that it was not right! It was missing about 1/4 cup of sugar. How she could pinpoint that from a pan of 50 pieces - i'm not sure. But, the recipe was tweaked and so it went. Until the recipe below was settled on.

R's Grandmother's Baklava
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 lemon rind
5 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
* boil for 5 minutes.
1 cup honey
4TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP Rosewater
** strain and let this syrup sit for a few hours or overnight

2 lbs of ground walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp rosewater
2 TBSP butter
4 tsp cinnamon
1 package of phyllo/Filo dough

layer. bake at 350 degrees F. for 40 minutes or until golden.
1 layer of syrup per pan


Frieda said...

You are so is difficult to capture recipes from the past, yet so important! The baklava looks delish...never had it before, but I'm willing to try it now!

Pearl said...

ahh.. recipes from the past are so precious.

Donna-FFW said...

Oh My! What a treasure of a recipe. This looks delicious.. the handwritten recipe adds such charm!

Anonymous said...

wow! I've never seen baklava with rosewater before. and so so true about it being difficult to get those family recipes right.

Tangled Noodle said...

So often these recipes are made from memory and instinct - so hard to capture just perfectly. But when you do, it's wonderful. I love baklava!

Ginger said...


I love all my grandmother's recipes but you are right they are hard to recreate. The Baklava looks intriguing. Wow, just really unique flavors. I love the platter that you have it on! Great photos.

Frantic Foodie said...

I love baklava, thanks for following my blog and the recipe

LoveFeast said...

I love rose water...added to sugar for subtle hints!

Joelen said...

I'd love to make some homemade baklava soon - its much easier that folks think!

Heavenly Housewife said...

How wonderful to have a recipe like this from your grandmother. Baklava is most definitely one of my all time favorite foods!