Did you know that “stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts”?
I love desserts. Cherry and apple pie are at the top of my favorites list.
According to author, Janet Pittman, “Pastry has traditionally been a container for the workingman’s lunch. Miners in England’s Cornwall left home every morning with a pastry-wrapped meat mixture in their pockets. The farmer in america came home at noon to chicken pot pie–a kind of chicken stew topped with a pastry lid.”
Restaurant chefs created puff pastries and across the Mediterranean travelers found flaky pastry sheets called filo or phyllo that were usually layered with dried fruits and nuts with lots of syrup.
Pittman states, that “a thrifty housewife in New England, trying to stretch her meager staples, discovered that a shallow pan needs less filling than a deep dish. And that was the beginning of the basic round, shallow pie.”
Pies & Pastries will help the beginner pie/pastry maker in every way, from the equipment needed to making crust and how to decorate the top of the pie with a woven lattice design or how to flute the pie crust edge. In a nut shell, this book is about the basics of creating pies and pastries.
No matter your ethnic background, there is something in this book for everyone. There are recipes for Ratatouille Pie, Grandma’s Apple Pie, Pot Pies, Kulebiaka, Bacon-Tomato Rarebit, Calzones, Cornish Pasties, Pissaladiere, Empanadas de Queso, Sigaras, tarts, fruit pies, meat pies, Strudels, and much more.
Here is a recipe for “Baklava,” a Middle Eastern sweet.
3 cups finely chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, if desired
About 3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 pound fresh or thawed frozen filo sheets
40 whole cloves, if desired
Honey syrup, see recipe below
Honey Syrup Ingredients:
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/3 cup honey
Combine walnuts and cinnamon, if desired. Set aside. Melt 3/4 cup butter and stir in oil. Lightly brush a 13 inch by 9 inch baking pan with butter mixture. Place 1 filo sheet in prepared pan, folding to fit in pan. Lightly brush with butter mixture. Repeat with 5 more filo sheets. Sprinkle the last sheet with a third of the nut mixture. Place 1 filo sheet on top of the nut layer, folding to fit in pan. Lightly brush with butter mixture. Repeat with 3 more filo sheets. Sprinkle the last shhet with half the remaining nut mixture. Place 1 filo sheet on top of nut layer, folding to fit in pan. Lightly brush with butter mixture. Repeat with 3 more filo sheets. Sprinkle last sheet with remaining nut mixture. Top with remaining filo sheets, folding to fit pan and brushing each sheet with butter mixture. Press top layer firmly all over to lightly compact layers. Trim any pastry that sticks above top layer. Brush top with melted butter mixture. If necessary, melt more butter.
Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C ). With the tip of a very sharp knife, score a diagonal line from corner to corner. Do not cut through layers. On the same diagonal, score a line from the center points of adjoining sides. Score a line between first line and second line. Score another line between the second line and the corner. Repeat on the other side of the first diagonal line. Repeat all diagonals in the opposite directions to make 24 full diamonds and 16 half diamonds.
If desired, insert a clove in center of each piece.
Bake 30 minutes.
Immediately after placing Baklava in oven, prepare Honey Syrup.
After Baklava bakes 30 minutes, reduce heat to 300 F (150C ).
Bake 30 to 40 minutes longer until light golden brown.
Remove from oven. Cut pastry on scored lines. Pour Honey Syrup evenly over cut pastry. Cool, Makes 40 servings.
Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Stir frequently over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and honey. Cool slightly.
Published by HP Book, 1982
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