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Albanian honey baklava recipe

Albanian honey baklava recipe


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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Pies and tarts
  • Pastry
  • Filo pastry

Lovely sweet Albanian honey baklava filled generously with walnuts and honey.


London, England, UK

7 people made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • 165g honey
  • 220ml water
  • 220g caster sugar
  • 36 sheets (450g) filo pastry
  • 200g butter, melted
  • 500g walnuts, ground
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:1hr15min ›Extra time:4hr soaking › Ready in:5hr45min

  1. The first step is to make the honey syrup, this can then cool while your baklava is in the oven. Add the honey, water and sugar into a saucepan and bring to the boil while continuously stirring. Once the sugar has melted, leave to boil on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Move to one side to cool.
  2. Find a baking tray that fits the size of your filo pastry, about 30x20x6cm. If necessary cut the filo pastry to size and cover with a damp tea towel to keep the pastry moist.
  3. Brush some melted butter onto the base of the baking tray. Lay one sheet of filo pastry at a time and brush with butter. Cover with a second sheet. Layer 8 sheets buttering each one as you go.
  4. Mix the ground walnuts and cinnamon together and sprinkle 1/4 over the pastry.
  5. Layer 4 more sheets of filo buttering each one as you go and then add another 1/4 of the nut mixture. Repeat so you have 4 layers of the nut mixture. Layer the last 8 sheets of filo pastry buttering as you go. Brush the top layer of pastry with butter.
  6. You can cut the baklava any way you desire, the traditional is diamonds. Cut 3 lines making 4 rows down the length of the tray. Then cut diagonally across to make diamonds.
  7. Preheat the oven to 160 C / Gas 2-3.
  8. Bake until golden and crispy, about 1 hour. Check every 5 minutes and bake up to 15 minutes more.
  9. Pour the syrup over the baklava straight away while it is still hot – you should hear the sizzling. Leave to set for 4 hours, allowing the syrup to soak through the pastry before serving.

Tip

Filo pastry will dry out very quickly so make sure you keep the damp tea towel over the pastry as much as possible while making your baklava.
Instead of walnuts use pistachios or even dried fruits.

See it on my blog

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Recipe Summary

  • 4 cups walnut halves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey, preferably Greek
  • 28 sheets phyllo (from a 1 1/2-pound package), thawed if frozen
  • 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for brushing

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor, pulse walnuts, cinnamon, and 1/2 cup sugar until finely ground.

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 cup water and remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar over medium-high bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer cook until slightly thickened and sugar is dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat stir in honey. Let syrup cool completely.

Brush a 12-by-2-inch round cake pan with butter. Trim each phyllo sheet into a 13-inch round (cover with plastic and a damp towel as you work). Carefully layer 7 phyllo sheets in pan, brushing butter between each layer. Sprinkle one-third of nut mixture over top. Repeat process twice more, brushing butter between each layer. Top with remaining 7 phyllo sheets, brushing butter between each layer.

Generously brush top layer with butter. Using a sharp knife with a very thin blade (such as a boning knife), cut baklava into quarters, cutting through all phyllo layers. Halve each quarter to create 8 equal wedges. Working within one wedge at a time, make two straight cuts, 1 inch apart, parallel to one side of wedge. Make two more cuts, parallel to opposite side of same wedge, creating a diamond pattern. Repeat process in remaining 7 wedges.

Bake until deep golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven pour syrup over baklava. Let cool completely before serving.


Pite Me Mish (Byrek Me Mish)

If there is one recipe in the Albanian tradition, it is the recipe for pite me mish, also called byrek me mish, a delicious minced meat pie with filo dough.

Albanian cuisine

Albanian cuisine is simple and tasty at the same time, because it is based on seasonal ingredients and quality raw ingredients.

But we cannot talk about Albanian cuisine without also considering the history of this nation over the past two centuries.

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The first major culinary influence comes from the 500 years of Turkish domination, which has strongly influenced not only the food, but also the language, culture, music and traditions in general.

In the following years, there were then the Italian colonization between 1939 and 1943 and the numerous exoduses of the Albanian people to Italy, which made certain typical Italian dishes, such as pasta (makarona in Albanian) or risotto and other Italian dishes widely available.

Finally, there is also an obvious Greek influence in Albanian cuisine, especially in the south, mainly due to their proximity, although between the two nations there is still a state of war that started in 1940 and an unresolved definition of maritime borders.

However, on the table, there is no conflict between the two nations. Indeed, Greek salads, saganaki, tzatziki and other typically Greek dishes are often present on Albanian tables.

You should never leave Albania without tasting the following dishes and sweets:

    , a delicious traditional Albanian dish made with ground beef and leek. (or Elbasan tava), a traditional Albanian dish made with rice and oven baked lamb, is also popular in Greece and Turkey. , a delicious traditional cake from Albania, made with honey and nuts and soaked in sugar syrup. , small butter shortbreads soaked in sugar syrup. In Turkey, they are called şekerpare , a traditional Albanian biscuit from the city of Elbasan, made from corn flour, eggs, sugar and butter and traditionally consumed on March 14 during dita e verës, summer day.

What is pite me mish?

In Albanian, pite means “waffle” and mish means “meat”. Pite me mish is also called byrek me mish, where byrek means “pie”.

Like the banitsa of Bulgarian cuisine, the origin of pite me mish can be found in börek.

What is börek?

Börek, also called burek, boregi or byrek in Albanian, is a pie made of phyllo dough, which can be filled with sweet or salty ingredients. Börek can also be a small individual turnover.

Börek is a very old dish that originated during the Ottoman Empire and is now widely used in Turkish and Balkan cuisines.

Depending on the region, there are many variations of börek that can be used both as quick snacks served by different street food vendors, in individual versions that are easy to eat with the hands (triangles, balls, cigars, etc.), and as a main course, in the form of a large circular cake, stuffed and hearty, offered at dinners or lunches.

Throughout the Middle East, börek is a true symbol of hospitality and conviviality.

According to the most widely shared accounts, börek was born in the 14th century in ancient Anatolia (now Turkey) during the Ottoman Empire, although many historians claim it was inspired by a recipe from the Roman Empire, a layered cake interspersed with pastry and baked cheese.

Börek has been part of Turkish cuisine for centuries and, therefore, of all the peoples under its reign, mainly the Balkans, but also some parts of North Africa and Sicily.

It is present in Jewish cuisine all over the world but also in Israel and India, samosa being the perfect example.

Börek in Turkish is a word that refers to any dish prepared with yufka, i.e. thin and crispy phyllo dough sheets and comes from the verb “to strike” or “to twist”, because originally the dough was first stuffed and then rolled up on itself, formed into a cylinder.

What are the variants of börek?

It is in Turkey, their country of origin, that we undoubtedly find the largest number of types of börek.

  • Su boregi, cooked in boiling water, filled with cheese and parsley and then grilled.
  • Sigara boregi or kalem boregi, cylindrical with different fillings, such as potato and cheese, or ground meat, or sausage or vegetables.
  • Pacanga boregi which is the speciality of the city of Istanbul, filled with cheese and fried green peppers.
  • Talas boregi, of spherical shape, which has the particularity of being stuffed with lamb and peas.
  • Gul boregi or yuvarlak boregi which is the sweet version, filled with custard cream or milk pudding and sprinkled with icing sugar.

In Albania, börek can therefore be called byrek or lakro. There are also different fillings, mainly stuffed with vegetables: spinach, potatoes, pumpkin, tomatoes and onions, peppers and beans but also stuffed with minced meat like the recipe presented here, or with cheese. The particularity of individual Albanian byreks is their triangular shape.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, people are so crazy about börek that it was voted as their national dish. Börek is served at any time of the day, from breakfast to dinner.

There are two main types: sirnica, stuffed with spinach and cheese, and zeljianica, stuffed with potatoes. The particularity of Bosnian böreks is that they also contain eggs in the dough and are therefore more inflated and hearty, usually in the form of a spiral.

In Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro, böreks are made up of different layers of phyllo dough and fillings such as minced meat, stewed onions, cheese, spinach, potatoes, and mushrooms.

The more modern versions also offer round börek in the form of pizzas. There are also sweet börek made from sour cherries or apples.

In North Africa and especially in Tunisia, they are called brick, the most famous being the egg brick (brick à l’oeuf), the brick sheet being a little thicker than the phyllo sheet and more suitable for frying than for baking.

In Morocco, for instance, when making a pastilla in the oven, a sheet of brick as thin as the phyllo is used, but for the individual pastillas that will be fried, classic brick sheet is better.

Phyllo dough

Phyllo dough, also spelled filo, also called yufka in Turkish, is a thin puff pastry, used in Mediterranean cuisine, the Middle East and the Balkans. Its name comes from the Greek phyllo, which means “leaf” or “sheet”.

The thickness can vary from that of a transparent sheet of paper to several millimeters. In Greek, Turkish, Armenian or Balkan cuisines in general, this dough is used in many pastries, such as börek or baklava.

In Germanic cuisine, the dough is called Strudelteig, and phyllo dough pastries are called Strudel.

Filo dough is as light as its name, as thin as a sheet of paper. Widely used in the Middle East and the Balkans, it has recently spread to Western cuisines, particularly in gastronomic cuisines.

It is said to be a “puff pastry” but it contains no fat or very little olive oil, and its neutral taste makes it very versatile.

The most representative recipe is baklava, a sweet Ottoman dessert made with honey and dried fruits.

In the 11th century, Lughat Diwan al-Turk, a dictionary of Turkish dialects by Mahmud Kashgari, recorded a rolled and folded dough called yuvgha. This name is linked to the word yufka, meaning “thin”.

Pite me mish can be prepared in the form of a pie, in the form of a spiral like the banitsa, or even in the form of individual turnovers. Phyllo dough can be homemade or purchased in a store. Pite me mish or byrek me mish, whatever name or form you give it, you will love it!


Many are intimidated by the delicate nature of phyllo I was also in this camp up until I was taught the right method of managing it. The key to minimizing their brittleness is to keep them moist.

Begin by thawing the phyllo in the refrigerator overnight. Right before you take it out of the refrigerator, spray two clean dishtowels with water. You can keep the phyllo between these slightly moist towels and keep it from drying out. Make sure to check and respray with water every 5-7 minutes to make sure there’s enough moisture. Don’t go overboard with the water or they may stick together.

At the end of the day, remember that phyllo is indeed delicate, and don’t worry if it tears. The taste will not be affected by that. Just make sure to have a few sheets that aren’t torn for the topmost layer. All the other layers are quite forgiving.


What would I eat for lunch?

  • Lunch is the biggest meal of the day for Albanians
  • Lightly seasoned meatballs called Qofte (lamb, beef or pork)
  • Again, lots of bread (simite) with whatever you’re eating
  • Shish kebabs
  • Lots of meat and vegetable casseroles the national dish (see image above) , a meat and onion stew and ferges, a veal stew – all stews are served with pilau rice
  • A cold soup called Tarator is eaten in the summer
  • Near the coast you’ll find lots of fish dishes made from trout and carp
  • Salad is popular with meals – it would usually contain cucumber, tomato, cheese and onions and dressed with olive oil, salt, pepper and either lemon or vinegar
  • A mixed grill full of an assortment of meats, salads and dips
  • Omelette

Pistachio Baklava

This traditional Turkish treat is beloved all over the world and especially in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Made out of pistachios, this nutty and sweet baklava has the perfect balance of crunchy and chewy. Although it's very rich, it's made of wholesome ingredients that make it a healthier alternative to other processed desserts laden with preservatives and artificial flavorings.

Our recipe requires very few ingredients other than the critically important phyllo dough, which you can easily find in any well-stocked grocery store in the freezer aisle, near the pie crusts and other pre-made doughs. The second most important ingredient for successful baklava is clarified butter or ghee, used to brush the dough and moisten the nuts. Plain melted butter can burn quickly and ruin the dessert. When making ghee, solids and water are removed and the resulting liquid is pure fat with a high smoking point, ideal for brushing this type of dough.

Making this baklava is not difficult at all and can be a fun family project. Serve with a cup of tea or coffee for a delicious pick-me-up.


BAKLAVA RECIPES AROUND THE WEB

As elaborated, Balkan baklava is made with simple syrup. And good simple syrup requires practice. Baklava consists of a delicate phyllo-syrup balance. One overpowers the other and you’ve got a problem on your hands. You’ll recognize a good baklava because you’ll see each layer with nuts in between, while top layers will stay crisp and separate.

Christina from christinascucina used to get baklavas from a neighbor, but didn’t have the heart to tell her she didn’t like them. Why didn’t she like them? Because they were soggy. She was persistent though so she found a great substitute in honey. I like her recipe and you might too (look at those triangles, don’t you just want to grab one through the screen?).

Courtesy of Christina’s Cucina

Perhaps you got the syrup technique down. Or you can even switch between honey and syrup baklava recipes with your eyes closed. Maybe your challenge comes down to volume. There is only a couple of you, and a huge batch of baklava.

Fret no more! I found another recipe for you. This one is by Hilah (how beautiful is her name?) over at hilahcooking. Her baklava is a successful combination of simple syrup and honey over phyllo. Hilah bakes a smaller batch of baklava – perfect if you’re taunted by the idea of baklava leftovers.

A couple of things even I learned? Add an orange rind (instead of lemon) into syrup. And to remind you to make sure your nuts aren’t salted, whichever ones you’re using. (I’m rooting for walnuts, of course!)

Courtesy of Hilah Cooking

Let me hammer this in more. Baklava is a rich dessert. A heavy, hearty dessert. When you want baklava nothing else will do.

But what about those other times? (Times when you just want a bite or two of baklava without having to make it from scratch, or feeling like you ate the heartiest dessert in the world.)

Mandy over at mandyrecipeboxblog has made something I’ve never heard of before. Something genius. Something that made me say over again “why didn’t I think of this?!

Ladies and gents, check out her baklava cookies!

Courtesy of Mandy’s Recipe Box Print


  • Use a food processor to chop your walnuts and save yourself a battle with a knife. You will need to pull them about 10 times to get them to the correct coarseness.
  • Work with your phyllo dough as quickly as possible to prevent it from drying out.
  • Roll your rolls are tightly as possible to ensure that you have even and smooth layers on the inside.
  • Pour your honey and sugar and honey mixture on your baklava rolls while they are still hot. This will allow them to soak up the mixture better.
  • Cut your baklava pieces at an angle with a sharp knife. I like to use a bread knife in a light, sawing motion to make sure all the pretty layers stay intact.
  • Biggest tip of all: You must let your baklava rest at room temperature for at least 3 hours. Overnight works best. Make sure to keep baklava uncovered while it’s resting.

There are so many different types of baklava out there. Some chefs use pistachios instead of walnuts, while others use almonds. Some people also like to bake their baklava like cakes! For this recipe, you will use my rolling method to skip some of the manual labor. When I created this easier version, I didn’t realize how dangerous it was going to be to have baklava on the table so fast!


Albanian honey baklava recipe - Recipes

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Baklava is a popular sweet pastry in Middle Eastern, Persian, Arab, Turkish, Greek, and Albanian cuisines. It consists of ground and finely chopped walnuts or pistachios between sheets of phyllo (filo) pastry, soaked in a sugary solution which is made mostly of sugar and may contain either lemon juice or honey and spices with or without rosewater.

Baklava is cut in various ways either diamond shaped, small squares, or rolled and cut into circular slices. As with any food, there are regional variations in the recipe with the most common differences being the syrup recipe and whether or not it contains honey.

Many think that Greeks originated this dessert, but it is thought that Assyrians originated in the 8th century B.C. Greek soldiers and seamen brought the recipe to Athens. The Greeks' major contribution to the development of this pastry is the creation of a dough technique that made it possible to roll it as thin as a leaf, compared to the rough, bread-like texture of the Assyrian dough. In fact, the name "Phyllo" was coined by Greeks, which means "leaf" in the Greek language.

To make Baklava, layer the paper thin sheets of phyllo (filo) dough and butter them one at a time. Lay the sheets in a rectangular baking dish. Add the nut filling. Continue to layer the dough, cut and bake. Add syrup right after removing fromt he oven.

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BAKLAVA

Baklava is a Turkish rich sweet pasty made of layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. This dish is distinctive to the former Ottoman Empire cuisines and much of central and southwest Asia. Like the origins of most recipes that came from Old Countries to enrich the dinner tables, the exact origin of baklava is also something hard to put the finger on because every ethnic group whose ancestry goes back to the Middle East has a claim of their own on this scrumptious pastry.

The origin is unclear as it not well documented. The word Baklava was first attested in English in 1653 and entered English from Turkish. The name baklava is used many languages with minor phonetic and spelling variations. It is believed that at around 8 th century B.C.

Assyrians were the first people who put together a few layers of thin bread dough, with chopped nuts in between those layers, added some honey and baked it in their primitive wood burning ovens. This early known version of baklava was baked only on special occasions.

Historically Baklava was considered as a food for the rich until the mid 19 th century. Many Ottoman sweets are similar to Byzantine sweets, using dough, sesame, wheat, nuts and fruits, and some were similar to the Ottoman borek, halva, and so on.

Vryonis identifies the ancient Greek &lsquogantris&rsquo, kopte, kopton mentioned in the Deipnosophistae as Baklava and calls it a Byzantine favorite. But though gastris contained a filling of nuts and honey, its outer layers did not include any dough, but rather a honey and ground sesame mixture similar to modern pasteli or halva.

Soon the delights of Baklava were discovered by the Greek seamen and merchant travelers traveling from east to Mesopotamia. It mesmerized their taste buds and brought the recipe to Athens. In fact, the name "Phyllo" was coined by Greeks, which means "leaf" in the Greek language. The major contribution by the Greeks in development of this pastry was the creation of a dough technique that made it possible to roll it as thin as a leaf compared to the rough, bread-like texture of the Assyrian dough.

As the Armenian Kingdom was located on ancient spice and silk routes they were the first to integrate the cinnamon and cloves into the texture of baklava. Later the Arabs introduced the rose water and cardamom. The taste changed in subtle nuances as the recipe started crossing borders and baklava was being baked and served in the palaces of the ancient Persian kingdom. To the west, it was baked in the kitchens of the wealthy Roman mansions, and then in the kitchens of the Byzantine Empire until the fall of the latter in 1453 A.D.

One of the oldest known recipes for a sort of proto-baklava is found in a Chinese cookbook written in 1330 under the Yuan (Mongol) dynasty under the name güllach. "Güllaç" is found in Turkish cuisine. Layers of phyllo dough are put one by one in warmed up milk with sugar. It is served with walnut and fresh pomegranate and generally eaten during Ramadan.

In Turkey, baklava is typically served with whipped cream and pistachios. A drier version of baklava is cooked and presented in smaller diamond-shaped cuts flavored with rose water in Iran. The city of Yazd is famous for its baklava, which is widely distributed in Iran. Persian baklava uses a combination of chopped almonds and pistachios spiced with cardamom, rose water scented syrup and is lighter than other Middle Eastern versions.

In Bosnia-Herzegovina baklava is generally rich in nuts and filling and is only eaten on special occasions, mostly during in the holy months of Ramadan and before Christmas. In Afghanistan and Cyprus, baklava is prepared into triangle-shaped pieces and is lightly covered in crushed pistachio nuts.

In Albania - baklava is the most popular dessert, prepared usually once a year during the New Year festivities, and it is served after the New Year's Eve dinner, and the following days. Albanian housewives mostly prepare it from scratch, by rolling out the dough rather than buying it ready made.

The typical traditional ingredients are flour and egg yolks for the dough, and walnuts and real butter for the filling. The syrup is prepared by boiling water, sugar and vanilla powder (optional). To prepare this traditional Turkish Baklava first chop walnuts to medium to fine pieces and mix with 1 cup sugar, ground Cinnamon and ground Cloves.

Melt Butter. Cut Fillo in half so that each sheet fits the bottom of the baking pan. Generously apply the butter to the bottom and sides of the baking pan and place the Fillo, one sheet at a time, in the baking pan. Spread generous helps of butter on each sheet of fillo as it is placed in the pan. After every 6 to 8 sheets of Fillo spread a layer of walnut mix.

Continue layering Fillo sheets (Baklava pastry sheets) and walnuts until Fillo is complete. Pour the remaining butter over top of the Baklava. The secret to a good flaky Baklava is to have each sheet of Fillo well buttered so that the sheets do not stick together. With a sharp knife, cut the Baklava diagonally to form diamond shaped pieces. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake the Baklava for 40 to 45 minutes or bake until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and allow cooling completely.

To prepare the Syrup mix water, sugar, ground cloves and either Cinnamon or the Cinnamon stick in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Pour the boiling syrup over the cool Baklava and allow to cool completely again. When cool serve individual pieces with strong (Turkish) sweet coffee and dried apricots for an exquisite dessert. Baklava is of Turkish origin and is the world's favorite Turkish Dessert. It's extremely delicious. To get the complete recipe of this exotic dish do click at:

During the 18 th century the Baklava has perfectioned its taste and texture and had only few cosmetic modifications done in shape and presentation. By the late 18 th century the Phyllo dough was given a French touch.



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