One Los Alamos is sharing recipes during Diversity Week. Pictured is Turkish Baklava from the kitchen of Neslihan Ceren who is from Turkey. She teaches different genres of dance to ages three and up including ballet for children, belly dance and Bollywood Fusion. She also works for Los Alamos Public Schools at Mountain Elementary School. Neslihan lives in Los Alamos with her husband and two children, a son Semih and a daughter Sare Beste. Courtesy photo
“Baklava has been the most popular dessert in the Turkish Empire including the Ottoman Empire. The recipe I am sharing with you originated in the Sultan’s kitchen. The Ottoman Empire brought baklava to Europe in the 16th century.
“It is a key dessert for celebrations, religious or otherwise. In my hometown, handmade baklava is served after the Ramadan (30 days fasting period). Every region and family has a special and unique baklava recipe. For example, Gaziantep province, which is known as the capital of baklava, makes its famous baklava with pistachios instead walnuts. People eagerly look forward to visiting friends and family and sampling the different varieties of baklava .
“It is my favorite desert and extremely popular in the U.S. and around the world.
“Here is an easy recipe that everybody can make.”
TURKISH BAKLAVA RECIPE
2 packages of phyllo dough, 1 ½ sticks of melted unsalted butter
4 cups Walnuts, ½ tbsp. cinnamon
2 ½ cup water
2 ½ cup sugar
1 ½ tbsp. lemon juice
First, the syrup needs to be prepared and cooled down. In a medium size saucepan, mix water and sugar and boil until it is a pale golden color. Add lemon juice and boil another 5 min. Remove from the heat and let it cool down.
Next, grind the walnuts and mix with cinnamon.
Lastly, start layering the phyllo dough and add butter with pastry brush to each layer. After 8 layers, add half of the filling. Then add six more layers of phyllo dough and spread the remaining filling. Layer again with 8 more phyllo dough sheets. Make 4 cuts lengthwise and 12 cuts crosswise to make 48 pieces. Pre-heat the oven to 375 °F and bake for 30 min. Lower the temperature to 325°F and bake for another 30 min. Remove the baklava from the oven and let it cool down for 5 min. Pour the syrup on top of the baklava and wait for 2 hours to absorb the syrup. Enjoy the Baklava!