Baklava, baklava, baklava…sounds pretty huh? Pronunciation? Not too difficult. Recipe? A little time consuming but not hard. Skill level? Heck, this is the second time I’ve worked with it, so definitely easy enough for beginners! The *real* issue here is working in a primarily male environment where half of them don’t know what it is! 😜 I love these guys, I do, but someone has to educate them on the finer desserts in life. That’s why I’m teaching them all about deliciously sweet, crunchy, sticky things like Baklava! Ok…so maybe my response to “Whats…back-lava?” was “Just eat it!” instead of a lecture on its origins, but I’m still *exposing* them to some cultured goodies, right? Right! On to the good stuff…
I mean…c’mon…doesn’t that look amazing? That’s the kind of lick-your-fingers dessert that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside 😘. For those of you who may not have enjoyed this particular dessert, baklava is layers upon layers of phyllo dough and chopped nuts that is baked until golden and soaked in a honey syrup. Sounds drool-worthy, huh? Many people believe it is a Greek dessert, others say its Turkish, but one thing’s certain…it’s delicious! My personal theory is that the only thing better than an original dessert recipe is cramming it into another dessert hahaha 🙂 So, following that line of thought, instead of making a traditional baklava, I made a deconstructed baklava and stuffed the mixture into the center of my cupcakes.
For the cupcakes, I chose my crazy cake recipe. Its light, airy, easy to make, and can take additions of other flavors well. I substituted flour for the cocoa powder and used almond extract instead of vanilla for a more nutty flavor. Pistachios and walnuts are more traditional, but I saw this delicious bag of mixed nuts and couldn’t resist. I even added some to the cupcake batter!
After baking I cut holes in the center for the filling and soaked the surrounding cupcake in a little bit of honey syrup. For the filling, I cut the phyllo dough into squares (save a little for the garnish), baked them with the chopped mixed nuts, and then soaked them in the same honey syrup before cramming tablespoons of the mixture into the baked and cooled cupcakes.
The phyllo dough is made by Athens and is found in the freezer section of the grocery store. There were two rolls of dough in my box, and I only used one…now I have to find another fun use for the other roll. 🙂 You may see many different spellings for the dough – filo, fillo, and phyllo but they are all the same; there are even two different spellings on my own box:
After the cupcakes were filled with the deconstructed baklava mix, I topped them with a little honey drizzled square of phyllo dough. Save some of those squares from earlier and bake them at 350 for about 7-10 minutes until they are nice and golden. Drizzle honey (not the honey syrup) on them while they are still warm and you will get a beautiful droplet look on top.
I soaked the cupcakes with a little more honey syrup and topped them with these cute little pastry squares and viola!
- 1 "roll" of phyllo dough, usually half of a package, roughly cut into 1 inch squares.
- 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts, your choice.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup honey
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Roughly chop your phyllo dough and nuts and toss together on a well greased cookie sheet. If using foil, spray or grease your foil as mixture gets very sticky when cooled.
- Bake your filling mixture for about 5-8 minutes and toss lightly with a spoon. Bake for another 5-8 minutes until mixture is golden brown and phyllo dough is crunchy.
- Bring you water and sugar to a boil and add vanilla and honey. Pour 1/2 to 2/3 of the mixture over the phyllo/nut mix and mix thoroughly.
- Drizzle the rest of your honey syrup over your cooled, cored cupcakes and fill them with the baklava filling.
- Optional garnish: Bake squares of phyllo dough spread evenly on a cookie sheet. Once golden, drizzle with honey (not honey syrup) for a beautiful water droplet effect.