No, these aren’t actually baklava. But yes, they are made with (almost) the same ingredients. The two big differences here is that the pastry sheets have been preformed by a machine somewhere into the cutest little fluted cups, and there is no layering involved. So it is easy to make a little treat that tastes like baklava without all the hassle of making the million layer delicacy.
I really love baklava, and was preparing to make my first batch (ever) from scratch by getting the ingredients from the store when I found these:
So I thought: “Can I make something taste like baklava while making it super quick?” I took them home and, with the rest of the ingredients found in regular baklava, set to work.
The biggest problem with these cups are that they break super easy. So when you buy them, do not be surprised when a couple of them are ripped before you even open the box. We will be working with honey, so if they are not too broken, the filling will hold them together. Anyway…
Set the butter you are going to use out to soften, about half an hour. Preheat the oven to 350, and set the cups out, evenly spaced, on a baking sheet.
So, the filler ingredients are basically sugar, butter, chopped nuts, and honey. If you want to be true to the baklava taste, it is commonly made with walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, or a combo of the three. I used pecans and almonds, because that is what I had at the house. To chop and combine all in one go (I love multi-tasking), put them into a food processor – I used a cup of pecans and another of almonds – with four tablespoons butter (for flavor and glue), and 1/2 cup sugar. Again, if you want better taste authenticity, add a good dash of cinnamon, up to about a teaspoon (which I did, cinnamon is great for you.) Chop in the processor until you get a uniform mash of nuts (and the butter seems to disappear).
Put this nut mix into a bowl and drizzle with honey, I used about half a cup of honey (purchased from a friend of mine who makes her own… awesome!) and mix well. Using a teaspoon (or a dinner spoon, whichever you have close at hand) put one scoop into each cup. Bake according to the box directions, done and done.
Now, get your favorite taste-monkey to try it first (could be poisoned you know). Brant likes, so viola! You now have quick and easy baklava-tasting cups. I served these at a writer’s group meeting, and it was well received. Although I was told by everyone it was not baklava, they were still eaten. And all I really want is for anything I bake to be completely eaten.
Note: while my sous-chef D’argo really wanted to be my taste monkey, I had to say no. While there is nothing bad for dogs in this dish, the sugar would be just too much for them. Keep it human only. Don’t worry, D’argo… I am going to make dogs only pastries in the very near future.