Bakalava, Chocolava, anything made with phyllo dough is fantastic!
I have been making bakalava since the early 70’s and I can’t believe I have never been intimidated by working with phyllo dough. I love making anything with the stuff. I have made little baskets to use as vessels for different appetizers. I have roll it up into roses to use for platter garnishes. It is great to make asparagus cigars (asparagus, wrapped with prosciutto and rolled in phyllo). Spanakopitas, of course, are wonder. I have a delicious recipe for Chicken in Phyllo with a Lemon Veloute Sauce that is outstanding (will post this soon).
Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and a sweetened honey/lemon syrup that is poured over the freshly baked baklava. This recipe has chocolate chips mixed in with the nuts and has melted chocolate drizzled over the top.
When we lived in Iowa back in the 70’s, I knew a girl who was Greek and she gave me a recipe for Baklava which I no longer have. But I remember her recipe had a mixture of walnuts, pecans and almonds and also used nutmeg and cloves with the cinnamon. My twin sister shared this chocolava recipe with me years ago. Her recipe uses orange and lemon juice for the drizzle. I made a few changes to her recipe using the extra spices and nuts I mentioned above. Hope you will try this version and it will be come a favorite.
Delicious! If I do say so myself.
Layered sheets of phyllo, nuts, phyllo, it’s just that easy.
This comes together very quickly.
Finished Chocolava after it has been drizzled with honey mixture and chocolate.
1 lb. phyllo dough
1 lb. nuts (mixture of walnuts, almonds, pecans) finely chopped
1- 6 oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips, finely chopped (or use mini)
3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1 1/4 c. butter, melted
3/4 c. orange juice
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. water
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 squares (2 oz.) semi sweet chocolate
Thaw the phyllo dough according to package directions. Combine the finely chopped nuts and chocolate chips, the 3/4 c. sugar and spices; set aside.
Brush the bottom of a 1/2 sheet pan (15x11x1″) with some of the melted butter. Layer 8 sheets of the phyllo dough in the bottom of the pan, brushing each sheet with a little of the butter. (If your pieces are too wide, just fold over that extra inch — one time to one side and the next to the opposite side) Sprinkle about 2 cups of the nut mixture over the phyllo in pan. Top with another 4 sheets of the phyllo, brushing each with more of the melted margarine. Sprinkle with 2 more cups of the nut mixture and top with 4 more phyllo sheets, brushing each sheet with butter. Top with the remaining nut mixture and the remaining phyllo sheets. Drizzle remaining butter over top layer. Cut into diamond or triangle shape pieces, cutting to but not through the bottom layer. (About half way through will be good enough). Bake in 325° oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Watch carefully.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the orange juice, the 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 c. water, honey and lemon juice. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
Immediately finish cutting diamonds or triangles. Pour over warm pan of phyllo. Cool completely.
In a small saucepan combine the chocolate squares and 2 tablespoons water, stir over low heat until smooth. Drizzle this over the Chocolava. Makes about 50-60 small pieces.
**Note– Until you get fast working with phyllo dough you may want to keep it covered with a damp cloth so it doesn’t dry out.