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Born a Texan, but traveled the US extensively.  Now staying on the East coast.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

spare time?

i have been busy,the holiday season helps ...
Christmas cactus in time for Christmas
note it is NOT just Christmas, but Christmas is what i celebrate,
but there are a lot of other ones at this time of the year and i hope all the others are health and happy.

There has been baking - which is a tradition for me...
Baklava:  my style

This will make 2 large trays of pastry
1 package Filo dough
2 pounds unsalted clarified butter
10 cups fine chopped nuts - walnuts and pecans
½ cup granulated raw sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground clove
The rinds of 3 oranges or 6 clementines (minced)
Whole cloves

The nuts, 1/2 pound of melted butter, sugar, spices and citrus rind are all combined and mixed well and set aside
In a greased large pan, 7 layers of filo dough are placed, brushing melted butter on each.
The traditional way is to cut this into diamonds now before baking or adding nuts (and it does help).
I bake this for 10 minutes at 350 F (until just brown and a bit fluffy)
Remove and add 3 nut mixture layers - nuts, filo, nuts, filo, nuts and then 7 more layers of filo dough.
Place a clove in the middle of each diamond.
Bake for 45 minutes or until just light brown.
Heat up the Honey/orange syrup 20 minutes before the baklava comes out of the oven.
Add the syrup mixture as soon as the Baklava comes out of the oven.
LET COOL FOR 4 HOURS before attempting tofinish the cut.
The cut is equal straight lines down the pan, then diagonal cuts across those.

(Greek Nut Cake)
(which appears to be the big favorite:

8 eggs, separated
1-cup sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice or nutmeg
1 teaspoon finely diced orange peel
1/8teaspoon Cream of Tartar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8teaspoon salt
1-cup cake flour (i have used regular flour with good results)
2 cups ground walnuts or hazelnuts (remember to use dry measure)
Honey/Orange/wine Syrup or powdered sugar
Beat Egg yokes until thick and then add cinnamon, sugar, salt, allspice and orange peel.
continue to mix .
Mix baking powder with the flour and add into the egg yokes and mix.
Remove this mixture and beat egg white with cream of tartar until stiff
Fold the two egg mixtures together gently
Finally, slowly fold in nuts
Pour into 2 small (9” x 9”), greased cake pans and cook at 350°F for 40 minutes
If using with powdered sugar, cover plate with powdered sugar and place cake onto plate (of course removing from pan)

Sprinkle top with powdered sugar after the cake has cooled

If using the honey syrup, warm the syrup first and pour about ½ to 1 cup of syrup over the cake and cool

Serve cool
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