Saturday, June 12, 2010

Baklava Fingers & Spiced Orange Sorbet

Until recently, I've never given honey too much thought. My father worked as a beekeeper when he was younger, which meant that he was full of entertaining stories about bee shenanigans--including a dark time when a hive "went rogue" and made their own queen--and our pantry was always full of his honey.

Jeopardy trivia break: did you know that honey is the one food that never spoils? It can literally last for hundreds of years. It might crystallize, but it will liquefy again once warmed.

Anyhow, I grew up eating that honey, and then graduated to buying my own in little bear-shaped bottles. It was nice, it was sweet, it wasn't too memorable. And then I tried this:

I got some of this Wild Raspberry Honey from Bee Raw as a giveaway on Blake Makes (which, if you aren't familiar with the website, often has great giveaways.) It would be a slight exaggeration to say that this honey changed my life, but it certainly changed the way I think about honey. It. Is. Amazing. I could eat it by itself, with a spoon. It's really mild, and fruity, with some mellow tart notes not unlike a raspberry! Incredible.

So after making yogurt-honey parfaits and honey sandwiches, I decided to put it to good use by showcasing it in a few dessert recipes. Of course, my first thought was baklava.

I've never made baklava before but I often order it when we have Greek food. It's not to everyone's taste but I love the combination of crispy phyllo dough and toasted nuts soaked in a honey syrup. Of course, the problem is that it's easy to do wrong, and there's nothing appealing about an overly sweet, soggy mess of gooey dough.

Instead of the traditional large pan cut into squares, I made Baklava Fingers based on this recipe from Baking Obsession. The fingers are maybe more time intensive to make, but they're less messy to serve and eat, and I also think they look nicer when served with...drumroll please...

Spiced Orange and Honey Sorbet. (recipe from Epicurious.) This was such a delightful surprise! I chose it because I thought it would fit in with the honey and Middle Eastern theme, but we loved it in and of itself. It was incredibly light and refreshing, and all of the spices made it more interesting and playful than a straight fruit sorbet. It's a perfect summer recipe.

Another benefit of the orange sorbet is that it helped cut the sweetness of the honeyed baklava, and the baklava added some much-needed texture to the sorbet. Of course, now that the dessert is gone and my honey jar is almost empty I feel a bit adrift. I've tasted the good stuff and I don't want to go back to the bear! Maybe my dad will send me some of his "vintage" honey from the garage...

10 comments:

  1. hummm!! très belle association!! je fais aussi des petits doigts de baklawa aux pommes/ noix si ça peut t'intéresser! bonne journée!

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  2. Looks wonderful! But the syrup for Baklava is not made of honey, but of sugar, water and lemon zest/orange water/rose water.

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  3. i totally prefer baklava with pistachios so i'm already loving this. i think i'll pass this recipe to my sister, who has the patience to make baklava. mmmm

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  4. Oh I love baklava so much! My grandmother is amazing and making the most rich baklava! I've seen baklava fingers before, but have never tried them. Usually, my family just sticks to the normal Baklava recipe. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. I love the sorbet so much! A refreshing treat for me. It has been freaking hot here.

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  6. YUM. Those look amazing. And the sorbet sounds like a fantastic flavor. I tried to make buttercream icing with honey instead of sugar, but it was my first buttercream attempt and it didn't work out. Still, I feel like that would be a good use of honey, too.

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  7. Good baklava is hard to do, and this looks very nicely done. My problem with baklava is it is often cloyingly sweet, but maybe the bear is to blame for that. Serving it with the sorbet would be the perfect foil.

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  8. Oh my goodness, this looks delicious!! Wish I were eating some right now.

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  9. keep working on your blog...i love blogging ..quick personal loans

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  10. amazing!!
    i wish a piece of this amazing dessert

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