Baklava By Najmieh Batmanglij

Rating: 
Yield: 
1 full sheet.
Ingredients: 

Syrup:
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup rose water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Dough:
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon syrup (prepared below)
1/4 cup rose water
1 egg
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose
flour, sifted

Filling:
2 pounds ground pistachios or almonds
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons ground cardamom
1 tablespoon rose water

Baking:
1/2 cup canola oil for baking

Decoration:
2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
2 tablespoons dried rose petals

Instructions: 

Prepare the syrup by combining the sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil (do not over boil), add the rose water and lime juice, and set aside.
For the dough, combine the milk, oil, syrup, rose water, and egg in a food processor mixing bowl. Add the flour and mix well for 5 to 10 minutes to form a dough that does not stick to your hands. Divide the dough into 2 balls of equal size and immediately wrap in plastic. Set aside.
For the filling, finely grind the pistachios, sugar, cardamom, and rose water in a food processor. Set aside.
Brush a 17x11x1-inch rimmed baking sheet with 1/4 cup oil. Place the oven rack in the center and preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
Prepare and dust with flour a large, wide surface for rolling out the dough. Unwrap 1 ball of dough and roll out into a very thin rectangular layer with a thin wooden rolling pin (the rolled dough should be thinner than a pie crust). Roll dough from the center to the outside edge in all directions, giving it a quarter turn occasionally for an even thickness—dust the dough with flour as necessary. The finished dough should be larger than the baking sheet.
Roll the thin layer of dough around the wooden rolling pin and transfer it to the oiled baking sheet and unroll the dough until it covers the whole baking sheet. Do not cut off the excess dough; let the dough hang over the edge of the baking sheet, 1 inch on all sides.
Spread all the pistachio-filling mixture on top of the dough. Spread, press down, and smooth it out using your hands. Use a small rolling pin to even it out and to pack it down firmly (this is important to achieve a tight, firm baklava when baked).
Roll out the second ball of dough into a very thin rectangular layer as you did in step 5 for the first one. Transfer dough sheet on top of the filling, allowing it to hang over all sides like the bottom layer. Press down on the dough evenly with your hands and smooth out the surface of the dough.
Fold and roll the overhanging dough from the top layer under the dough from the bottom layer. Press together and pinch the top and bottom edges together to seal like a pie, forming a rim around the edge of the baking pan.
Hold down the dough with one hand, pressing down with your palm while cutting the dough with a sharp knife (all the way through) into diamond shapes. Use a brush to paint the dough with 1/4 cup oil.
Place the baking pan in the middle of the pre­heated oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes (depending on your oven) until the baklava is golden or pinkish in color.
Spread a damp towel on the counter. When the baklava is pink, remove it from the oven and place it on the towel. Evenly pour 2 cups of the syrup all over the top.
Decorate the baklava with pistachios and rose petals. Cover immediately, while still warm, with a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil and seal tightly. Let stand at room temperature for at least 4 hours. It is important that the baklava be covered at all times because it dries out very easily.
When ready to serve, use a sharp knife to lift 2 of the diamond pieces out of the baking sheet (to create an opening), then care­fully lift 1 diamond at a time and arrange on a serving dish. Or transfer to a covered glass container for storing in the refrigerator.

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fun facts

Pistachios, when eaten with high-carbohydrate foods, may result in lower than expected blood sugar levels, an important factor in reducing risk of diabetes.

According to a Penn State University study, it is suggested that pistachios reduce the body's biological response to stress.

One serving of pistachios has as much potassium (300mg, 8%) as an orange (250mg, 7%).

Pistachios are high in phytosterols which may lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. In animal studies phytosterols have been shown to potentially have anti-cancer properties.

One serving of pistachios is 49 nuts, more than any other tree nut.

Forty-nine pistachios serve up to 20 percent of your Daily Value of B6, about the same as half an avocado.

You can obtain more dietary fiber from a serving of pistachios (3g) than a 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli, and the same amount of dietary fiber as an orange or an apple — approximately 10 percent of the Daily Value.

Just a single serving of pistachios provides you with the same amount of protein in a one-ounce serving of soybeans and can serve as a protein alternative to meat, poultry or beans according to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.

Pistachios are a naturally cholesterol-free snack and contain just 1.5 grams of saturated fat.

Celebrate the greatness of nuts! October 22 is National Nut Day and February 26 is National Pistachio Day!