Home Cookin': Pistachio Baklava with Orange Blossom Syrup | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Home Cookin': Pistachio Baklava with Orange Blossom Syrup 

Published October 24, 2016 at 9:21 p.m.

click to enlarge Baklava - ASTRID LAGUE
  • Astrid Lague
  • Baklava
In fifth grade, my class did a social studies unit on Greece, which culminated with a group meal. For dessert, we made baklava. Its rich and sweet layers of flaky phyllo dough, butter, honey, and nuts made an impact on me — and my taste buds.

I didn't make the decadent delicacy again until a couple of years ago, when my mother requested a Middle Eastern birthday dinner. My sister and I pored through our cookbooks, finding all sorts of delicious things to make. For dessert, I chose baklava.

For that meal, I put a few twists on the dish. My sister and mother are not overly fond of walnuts, the traditional nutty filling for baklava.  Pistachios, though?  That's another matter. And instead of honey syrup, I used a secret weapon — orange blossom syrup, made with sugar and orange blossom water, which you can find on Amazon or at a Middle Eastern market. The ingredient adds a floral sweetness that's really incredible.

For this recipe, I used chopped pistachios and pecans, as the mixture is more affordable than just pistachios. Really, you can try any combination of nuts — walnuts, of course, would be wonderful, and hazelnuts would work, too. Don't be scared to play around!

The real magic of baklava happens when you pour the warm syrup over the baked layers of phyllo and nuts. It sizzles in the most satisfactory way as the syrup works its way into all of the crevices of the phyllo. The end product is a sticky, sweet confection that is undeniably delicious. Kids love it, adults love it, and the whole process is a whole lot easier than you'd think. This is one to try at home, if for no other reason than that magic sizzle.

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

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