Round Pistachio Baklava

Recipes in this PostRound Pistachio Baklava

A Little History of Round Pistachio Baklava

When I was a little girl, my mother brought me a special dessert.  It was baklava, and I loved it. It wasn’t until I was a lot older and moved to a community that had a large Armenian population that I learned that there were a lot of varieties of the venerable dessert. The history of this pastry is long and contested – some say it originated in Ancient Rome citing a recipe from Cato the Elder in 160 BC, some say the Romans stole the recipe from the Greeks, and Byzantine Turks say it was already theirs – Wikipedia Baklava.

I had no idea how the dessert was made, and when I found out it was made with Filo dough, I thought it being so gossamer that I would never be able to handle it. Of course, I was also convinced that I was unable to make decent rice, and frying completely perplexed me.

I have lately been watching YouTube and found the Heghineh Cooking Show. She demonstrates all kinds of good Armenian food, and one day, it was a round baklava with pistachios.  The way she did it, and explained it, I thought, you know what, I can do that!  I have already conquered rice and mastered frying, so why not Filo, too?  I decided to make it for a small dinner party because I was getting kind of tired of cakes or fruit.

Round Pistachio Baklava

Completed Baklava Taste Test

Working with Filo

If you have already worked with filo dough, then this recipe should be a breeze for you.  If not, and you need to see the method of making these luscious pastries, then head on over to the YouTube video by Heghineh. Please note that you will probably not use the entire roll of dough, some might stick together too much, or get too torn to work with.  I would say I lost about 6 sheets.

There are a couple of things I did differently.  I used Cortas Rose Syrup that I buy at Armenian stores or at Amazon (it makes a fine cocktail with vodka over ice), and I used True Orange that you can also get at Amazon.  I also messed up with the first baklava and forgot to squeeze them together, so I ate those.
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Strawberry Balsamic Pie

Recipes in this Post Strawberry Balsamic Pie

So, I asked my son if he wanted strawberries because they are in season and on sale at the supermarket. He said no, we don’t eat them fast enough, and they go bad. I told him I would make some kind of dessert, and bought not one, but two containers of lovely red, ripe strawberries.

When you are going to buy strawberries, check them carefully. Thoroughly look them over, especially on the bottom, where an errant bruised one is oozing fluid and making the others near it go bad. Also check that their top part of the fruit is red, not pale green. If it’s pale green, the fruit is not ripe and will be tasteless.

After you get your berries home, unless you intend to eat them immediately, just put them in the refrigerator. Do not wash them! When you wash them, they will go bad quickly. If you must wash them, then let them dry in a single layer on a paper towel on a sheet pan, before putting them in the refrigerator.

You will enjoy this pie. You can buy a pre-made graham cracker crust, or you can make one yourself. I have a container of graham crumbs, so I make mine. I will put the recipe for the graham crust in as well.

Strawberry Balsamic Pie

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes

Category: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Serving Size: 1 slice

Calories per serving: 372

Fat per serving: 16 g

Saturated fat per serving: 7 g

Carbs per serving: 53 g

Protein per serving: 5 g

Fiber per serving: 2 g

Sugar per serving: 43 g

Sodium per serving: 217 mg

Trans fat per serving: 0 g

Cholesterol per serving: 37 g

Nothing like fresh strawberries with sweet balsamic vinegar to bring out their bright flavor. This makes a great summer pie. If you don't feel like turning on your oven, use a pre-made graham cracker crust.

Ingredients

For the Crust
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
1/4 cup sugar
For the Filling
1 can (10 oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
4 cups Strawberries sliced
For the Topping
1 cup Whipping cream
2 tablespoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract

Instructions

    Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare the pie crust by combining all the crust ingredients together, then turning them into a pie plate. Use the back of a measuring cup, or a glass to flatten and evenly distribute the crust. Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 8 minutes, remove and set aside to cool completely.
    To make the filling, combine the lemon juice, vinegar and condensed milk, stir til thickened, a few minutes. Put the strawberries in with the milk mixture and toss completely. Fold that into the pie shell.
    Refrigerate at least one hour. Put the bowl you are going to make the whipped cream in the refrigerator at the same time.
    To make the topping, have ready a chilled bowl. Put the cream in the bowl and start beating it. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
    Spread the whipped cream on top of the pie and serve immediately. Refrigerate left overs, if you are lucky enough to have any.

Notes

Make sure the berries are completely dry when doing this. You can either slice or half the berries, depending on their size.

https://the-good-plate.com/2017/08/strawberry-balsamic-pie/
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Nesco Honey Baked Cola Ham

Nesco Honey Baked Cola HamRecipes in this Post

Merry Christmas to all! I make a ham on Christmas so I can have Hoppin’ John on New Years day. I also like to make quiche and I found a recipe for soup that I will be posting in a few days.

No one can stand a ham that is all dried out. Thank goodness for the Nesco which keeps your ham nice and moist. I had heard that Coke-a-cola made for a really moist ham, so I decided to try it. Who doesn’t like Honey Baked ham glaze? I wanted to make a glaze with similar properties, and I was able to do that with the help of a little coffee. Yes, coffee!

Nesco Honey Baked Cola Ham YouTube Video


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Coleslaw with Microwave Boiled Dressing

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To Boil or Not to Boil

The good thing about boiled dressing and cabbage is that once the hot dressing hits the cabbage, it immediately wilts it. That’s a good thing if you sometimes don’t want your coleslaw to feel like eating tasty tree trunks. The other good thing about a boiled dressing is that the coleslaw has to refrigerate to get to serving temperature, and while it’s doing that it’s absorbing all that flavor.

Coleslaw made with mayonnaise dressing is great, too, especially if you have other vegetables like carrots, or fruit, like raisins or pineapple in it. Then you don’t want to necessarily use a hot dressing. The hot dressing is also a lot richer than its cold brethren.

Too Hot to Boil Anything!

Considering it’s a holiday, I wanted to have the richness, but I also didn’t feel like standing over a hot stove. Well, I came up with a solution. The Microwave is my friend, and your coleslaw’s friend, too. Boiled Dressing without the fuss!

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1-2-3-4 Sheet Cake

Recipes in this PostSpane in 5th Grade

The picture is of Spane, in the 5th grade. The recipe is for the cake I made for him for his 5th birthday, so I think it’s an appropriate picture. The original cake had a Barney on it, because Barney was Spane’s favorite character. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to put that picture up here. I’m done with Barney and so is Spane.

This cake, however, will never, ever get old. It’s a very simple cake to make, and my goto white cake. It’s a recipe adapted from The Joy of Cooking, which in turn is an adaptation of the original 1-2-3-4 cake, so named because it uses 1 cup each of milk and butter, 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour and 4 eggs. If you were illiterate as many pioneering and colonial American women once were, your recipes would have to be very easy because you would not be able to write them down, and you would want to be able to pass them down to your daughters. We will probably never know who actually invented this cake, but I for one, am very glad she did.

This recipe makes a lot of cake. It fits nicely into a large 15 x 10 inch sheet pan, or three nine inch round pans. It’s an excellent recipe for a crowd. As a matter of fact, I used to make two layers of this cake, and put strawberries and cream as topping and filling when I made the birthday cakes for Dean Witter in Beverly Hills. If you double this recipe, it will easily feed 50 people.

If you really want to see what the Barney looks like, I originally put this recipe on Big Oven and my original Barney decorated cake picture is there. When you see it, you’ll understand why I didn’t want it here.

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Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Fudge for Valentines

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Finished Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Fudge

Sometimes you get lucky and someone gives you a whole bunch of boxes of Christmas Peppermint Candy Canes. I was lucky, my friend gave me six boxes of candy someone had given her. She was surprised when I said I wanted it, and she wanted to know what I was going to do with it. I said, “Make Peppermint Fudge, of course!”

Span was excited to help me because he got the job of breaking up the candy canes into more manageable pieces. First he did this with his hands, came and showed them to me and I said, “You know, breaking them goes quicker when you use a hammer.” So, he got a hammer, and he started banging away at them. I was washing dishes and didn’t realize he had started, or where he was going this. I now have little bits of candy cane on the floor in the living room. No big deal, I will vacuum them up. The point is he had a good time, and really felt he was helping.

We made the fudge last night and put it in the refrigerator to firm up. I was thinking of dipping the pieces in chocolate, but I only had unsweetened chocolate. If that happens to you, it’s not a show stopper.

How to Make Dipping Chocolate with Unsweetened Chocolate

Double BoilerI like to melt my chocolate in a double boiler. I also prefer to make my own double boiler by placing a metal bowl above pan half filled with water. The bowl’s circumference is much larger than the pan, so a) there is no chance of the chocolate falling into the water, and most importantly, b) because of the large circumference, there is little chance of steam getting to the chocolate and making it seize. Once chocolate has seized, about the only thing it’s good for is breaking up for chocolate chip cookies, or beating the heck out of it to make chocolate ganache.

Making Dipping Chocolate with Unsweetned ChocolateI found myself in a quandary as I did not have enough semi-sweet chocolate to dip all the fudge, and I didn’t want to waste time going to the store to buy more. It’s actually not a problem, you can add sugar to melted chocolate, and it will be just fine. As a matter of fact, just as in using salted butter gives you little control over saltiness in dishes, using semi-sweet chocolate also gives you limited control over the sweetness of the chocolate. The important thing to remember is that you must use the finest grain pure cane sugar you can get to avoid grittiness. Add the sugar to the melted chocolate, slowly, stirring all the while. Whatever you do, don’t let the sugar liquefy or you’ll just have a mess of seized chocolate. The ratio is about 1/4 cup of sugar to every ounce of unsweetened chocolate. You will have to test it for taste, though, depending on how sweet you want the final product.

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