This is my second month to enjoy the Daring Kitchen Challenge. Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then use that homemade dough to make Baklava. We were required to make the phyllo dough and then the baklava ingredients were left for us to be creative with the flavors and ingredients as long as the finished product was a baklava which could be in traditional form or as a baklava roll or baklava cup. I chose to make baklava rolls and utilized some of my favorite ingredients including dehydrated tart cherries and chocolate for my baklava rolls.
Homemade Phyllo Dough
1 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup less 1 TB water, plus more if needed
2 TB vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 tsp cider vinegar
Combine the flour and salt in bowl of your stand mixer. Mixing with paddle attachment.
Combine water,oil and vinegar in a small bowl. I used my glass measuring cup. Add water & oil mixture to the flour mixture on low-speed, mixing until you get a soft dough. If the dough appears dry add a little more water. I had to add 1 TB extra.
Change to the dough hook and let knead for approx. 10 minutes. You will end up with beautiful smooth dough. If you are kneading by hand, knead approx. 20 minutes. Remove the dough from mixer and continue to knead for 2 more minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard on the counter a few times during the kneading process. Shape the dough into a ball and lightly cover with oil. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest for 30-90 minutes, longer is best. I got busy working on a sewing project and the dough rested for 4 hours as I had forgotten about the dough. It turned out to be very easy to work with, so do not worry if you let it sit for a longer period of time
Rolling your phyllo dough
Are you ready?!
**Remove all rings and jewelry so it does not snag the dough**
Unwrap your dough and cut off a chunk slightly larger than a golf ball. While you are rolling be sure to keep the other dough covered so it doesn’t dry out.
Be sure to flour your hands, rolling-pin and counter and keep extra handy to reflour. As you roll you will need to keep adding, don’t worry you can’t over-flour.
Roll out the dough a bit to flatten it out.
Wrap the dough around your rolling-pin/dowel.Roll back and forth quickly with the dough remaining on the rolling-pin or dowel. Remove and see how much bigger it is.
Rotate and repeat until it is as thin as you can get it. Don’t worry if you get rips in the dough, as long as you have one perfect one for the top if you are making a cake style baklava. If you are rolling into baklava rolls like I did it will not matter either.
When you get the dough as thin as you can with the rolling-pin, carefully pick it up with well floured hands and stretch it on the back of your hands as you would pizza dough, this helps get the dough even thinner. Roll and stretch the dough until it is paper-thin. You will not get a thin a frozen store-bought phyllo dough as that is made with a machine.
Set aside on a well floured surface. Repeat the process until your dough is completely used up. Between each sheet again flour well. You do not need to cover the dough that is stretched as it is moist enough and will not dry out if you are using immediately. I got 8 sheets of phyllo dough from this recipe.
Now that the dough is completed, you can proceed with your baklava recipe or freeze the phyllo dough sheets and allow to thaw and continue making your baklava at a later time.
Cherry Chocolate Baklava Rolls
Remember hot syrup to cooled baklava or cooled syrup to hot baklava
For the syrup
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup liquid honey
1/3 cup water
1 TB lemon juice
1 strip lemon rind
1/2 stick cinnamon
When you put the baklava into the oven start your syrup. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook without stirring, until sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Discard rind and cinnamon stick. Set aside and let cool.
1 cup dried cherries – I had dried tart pie cherries that I had dehydrated early in the spring, so I used those.
1 cup water
2 TB sugar
1 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp cinnamon
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup melted butter
Freshly made phyllo dough
1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped – orignal recipe used walnuts
To make the baklava filling. I warmed the water in microwave safe measuring cup for about 1 minute to get hot and then pour over the dried cherries and let set for 5 minutes to let the cherries rehydrate somewhat. After they absorbed much of the water I drained the cherries and patted them dry. I roughly chopped the cherries and placed them in a medium-sized bowl. I then combined the rest of the ingredients, the nuts, sugar and spices and chocolate with the cherries. The nuts were not finely ground as I wanted them to be a bit more crunchy. The filling is now ready for the phyllo dough.
To make to Baklava Rolls :
Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit. I buttered the bottom of a cake pan to bake the rolls in. Then taking one individual phyllo dough sheet, lightly butter the sheet then folded in half into a semi-circle. Sprinkled the filling over the phyllo dough sheet to 1/4 inch from the edges. Then rolled the phyllo dough up like a jelly roll. Once the sheet is rolled, taking a sharp knife cut the roll into three even pieces. Place the cut rolls seam side down into your prepared pan. Proceed until you fill the pan or you have used up all of your phyllo dough sheets. Butter the rolls again with whatever melted butter you may have left. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in preheated oven or until golden brown.
Once the rolls come out of the oven, pour the cooled syrup over the freshly baked baklava rolls. Once the pan has cooled , covered with plastic wrap and let set for 24 hours for the baklava to absorb the syrup.
I placed the individual rolls into paper baking cups so the excess syrup would stay with each roll.
Verdict: I really liked these rolls as did my son and our square dance club. I think next time I will try with semi-sweet chocolate instead of the dark bittersweet chocolate. They were nice and crunchy and with the bittersweet chocolate and tart cherries they were not overly sweet. I was pleased with the challenge and surprised that the phyllo dough was a lot easier to make than I was anticipating. Thank you Erica of Erica’s Edibles for a great challenge.