Not only is it week 20 of “Chopped Challenge Thursday” but it is also day 3 of my “Thousand by Valentine’s Challenge”!!!
On Tuesday I launched a challenge in order to reach my first goal of 2013: Reach 1000 “likes” on Little Leopard Book’s Facebook Page. I decided to do this by asking my loyal, amazing, super, fabulous followers to “share” my page with their friends.
Three days later, I stumbled upon this quote, “If I tell my Facebook friends about your brand, it’s not because I like your brand, but rather because I like my friends.” – Mark Arauz
I absolutely loved it and hope this is how everyone feels about sharing my page!
If you would like to join in the fun, scroll on over to the right hand side of this page, click that little blue “like” button, then cruise on over to Facebook, check out your cousins new puppy, who got engaged this week, send a happy birthday message, then share “Little Leopard Book” with your friends!
I want to thank everyone who has already helped in the challenge! I put all of my love, passion and obsession with cooking into every post and I just hope you all enjoy reading them as much as I love creating them!
Ok I know, enough with the mushy stuff and on to the FOOD!
Now after asking you all to share my page with your friends, I feel like I have to be honest with you. I’m not perfect.
Oh my gosh, I know, it’s shocking because there are so many perfect people out there 😉
I try to play the “perfect hostess” card most of the time, but Sunday night “perfect hostess” I was not.
I planned a delicious Greek dinner for a few friends and was able to complete 3 of the 4 items on the menu, but when it came down to dessert I simply ran out of time to prepare the Baklava!
Since I had driven to 3 grocery stores to find phyllo dough, this dessert was still happening, just a little later than planned.
As I looked at my “Mystery Basket Ingredients” for the week, I thought “hmmm maybe I can incorporate these into my Baklava” and I did!
This weeks mystery basket featured Pears from Michael Winger, Pomegranates from Allison Davis, Turmeric from Krista Lombardi and Eggs from Kristi Sellers.
I incorporated the pears by caramelizing them in a little cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and turmeric mixture, then mixed the caramelized pears with the pomegranate seeds and crushed pistachios for the filling. I then used half butter and half egg white wash to brush the phyllo dough. A little more protein and a little less butter never hurt anyone!
The result was a sweet, nutty, tart, scrumptious dessert, that had so many levels of flavor and pure awesomeness in every bite!
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 pears (peeled, cored and sliced)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 cups pistachio kernels
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- 20 sheets phyllo dough
- ½ cup butter (melted)
- 2 egg whites
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
Begin by melting the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Next, add the pear slices. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Next, combine the turmeric, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in a small bowl.
Add the spice mixture to the caramelizing pears.
Cook for 3-5 minutes of until pears become soft, but not mushy!
Next, place the pistachios in a food processor and blend into a fine crumb mixture.
Chop up the pear slices, then add the pistachios and pomegranate seeds.
Next, prepare the “Baklava Making Station” by laying out the phyllo dough, next to a bowl with melted butter and bowl with egg whites, a pastry brush and a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Spray the baking dish with cooking spray or brush with the melted butter then one by one place the phyllo dough into the baking dish and brush with butter or egg white, alternating with each sheet. After 10 sheets, place half of the filling on the dough.
Layer 5 more sheets on top (still alternating egg wash and butter on each sheet) then top with the rest of the filling.
Finally, top the baklava with the last 5 sheets of phyllo dough (egg wash, butter, egg wash, butter, you get it by now!)
Next, slice the Baklava diagonally to form little diamonds.
Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.
While the baklava is in the oven, prepare the syrup to go on top.
Begin by bringing the water and sugar to a boil. Next, add the honey, lemon juice and vanilla. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the stove and allow to cool while the baklava finishes baking.
Once the baklava comes out of the oven, drizzle the syrup over the top.
Let the syrup soak in there for 3-4 hours, then serve!
Not only was this dessert a delicious mid-week treat, it also helped me knock another item off the “food list challenge” (I’m now at 72 of 100!)
I also upped the ante on my “Valentines Day Challenge” by sharing this dessert with new friends!
Grab a slice and dig in!
♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.
♦ Gluten Free Option: Use a gluten-free phyllo dough to make this recipe gluten-free. Foodista has a recipe for gluten-free phyllo dough here.