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Dark Chocolate Espresso Baklava for Daring Bakers…

June 27, 2011

I’ll tell you in advance, this was just not my challenge.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy learning to make my own phyllo pastry. It was pretty awesome. And remarkably easy.

It’s just that I kinda had an idiot moment that screwed with everything. Like that phyllo pastry you see there in the finished baklava is not my pastry.

Oh I made the pastry, you can check out the in progress photos below, I just lost my mind somewhere in the process. I forgot to flour the finished sheets while stacking them. Yeah, it didn’t end well.

I had already made all the other components so as much as I didn’t wanna go there, I finished it using store bought. Hey, at least I made the pastry and next time I’ll know how to do it.

For now we’ll just have to pretend that those paper thin sheets are mine.

Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.

I used almonds and hazelnuts in the filling and flavoured the sugar syrup with espresso and vanilla. The flavours worked really well and although I learned in the process that I’m not a huge fan of baklava (way too sweet for me), it was well received by G and the family.

Because I’d been baking gluten free for so long and due to the perceived difficulty of the recipe I decided to break out the gluten. So this one’s not gluten free unfortunately!

Making your own phyllo pastry is really not that difficult. I’d suggest giving it a try. Just don’t forget to flour the sheets. Lesson learned.

(Recipe and directions from The Daring Kitchen, check it out for more step-by-step photos and videos)

Phyllo Dough:

*Note 1: A double recipe will fill a 9” x 9” baking dish with 18 layers of phyllo pastry.
*Note 2: A Single recipe will fill a 8” x 5” baking dish.
*Note 3: Dough can be made ahead of time and frozen. Just remove from freezer and allow to thaw before continuing with your baklava.

1 1/3 cups (320 ml) (185 gm/6½ oz) unbleached all purpose (plain) flour
1/8 teaspoon (2/3 ml) (¾ gm) salt
1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) cider vinegar, (could substitute white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar, but could affect the taste)


1. In the bowl of your stand mixer combine flour and salt

2. Mix with paddle attachment

3. Combine water, oil and vinegar in a small bowl.

4. Add water & oil mixture with mixer on low speed, mix until you get a soft dough, if it appears dry add a little more water

5. Change to the dough hook and let knead approximately 10 minutes. You will end up with beautiful smooth dough. If you are kneading by hand, knead approx. 20 minutes.

6. Remove the dough from mixer and continue to knead for 2 more minutes. Pick up the dough and through it down hard on the counter a few times during the kneading process.

7. Shape the dough into a ball and lightly cover with oil

8. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest 30-90 minutes, longer is best

Rolling your Phyllo

** Remove all rings and jewelry so it does not snag the dough**

Use whatever means you have to get the dough as thin as you can. It’s best to roll out your phyllo dough using a wooden dowel or rolling pin. You may also use a pasta machine if you have one.

1. Unwrap your dough and cut off a chunk slightly larger then a golf ball. While you are rolling be sure to keep the other dough covered so it doesn’t dry out.

2. Be sure to flour your hands, rolling pin and counter. As you roll you will need to keep adding, don’t worry, you can’t over-flour.

3. Roll out the dough

4. Rotate and roll it out a little more. Repeat until you have the thickness you want

8. When you get it as thin as you can with the rolling pin, carefully pick it up with well floured hands and stretch it on the backs of your hands as you would a pizza dough, just helps make it that much thinner. Roll out your dough until it is transparent. NOTE: you will not get it as thin as the frozen phyllo dough you purchase at the store, it is made by machine

9. Set aside on a well-floured surface. Repeat the process until your dough is used up. Between each sheet again flour well. You will not need to cover your dough with a wet cloth, as you do with boxed dough, it is moist enough that it will not try out.

Baklava Recipe

Adapted from Alton Brown, The Food Network
30 servings


For the syrup:
· 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) honey
· 1 1/4 cups (300ml) water
· 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) (280 gm/10 oz) sugar

· 3 tbsp ground dark roast espresso beans and 1 vanilla bean

When you put your baklava in the oven start making your syrup. When you combine the two, one of them needs to be hot, it’s better when the baklava is hot and the syrup has cooled


1. Combine all ingredients in a medium pot over medium high heat. Stir occasionally until sugar has dissolved

2. Boil for 10 minutes, stir occasionally.

3. Once boiled for 10 minutes remove from heat and strain out the espresso beans and vanilla. Allow to stand as the baklava cooks.

Ingredients for the Filling:

230 gm blanched almonds

230 gm hazelnuts

2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm/ 5 1/3 oz) sugar

100 gm dark chocolate

phyllo dough (see recipe above)

1 cup (2 sticks) (240 ml) (225g/8 oz) melted butter


1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
2. Combine nuts, sugar and chocolate in a food processor and pulse on high until finely chopped. If you do not have a food processor chop with a sharp knife as fine as you can. Set aside

3. Trim your phyllo sheets to fit in your pan

4. Brush bottom of pan with butter and place first phyllo sheet

5. Brush the first phyllo sheet with butter and repeat approximately 5 times ending with butter. (Most recipes say more, but homemade phyllo is thicker so it’s not needed)
6. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top

7. Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 4 times
8. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
9. Continue layering phyllo and buttering repeating 4 times
10. Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top
11. Continue layering and buttering phyllo 5 more times. On the top layer, make sure you have a piece of phyllo with no holes if possible, just looks better.
12. Once you have applied the top layer tuck in all the edges to give a nice appearance.

13. With a Sharp knife cut your baklava in desired shapes and number of pieces. If you can’t cut all the ways through don’t worry you will cut again later. A 9×9 pan cuts nicely into 30 pieces. Then brush with a generous layer of butter making sure to cover every area and edge

14. Bake for approximately 30 minutes; remove from oven and cut again this time all the way through. Continue baking for another 30 minutes. (Oven temperatures will vary, you are looking for the top to be a golden brown, take close watch yours may need more or less time in the oven)

15. When baklava is cooked remove from oven and pour the cooled (will still be warmish) syrup evenly over the top, taking care to cover all surfaces when pouring. It looks like it is a lot but over night the syrup will soak into the baklava creating a beautifully sweet and wonderfully textured baklava!

16. Allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled cover and store at room temperature. Allow the baklava to sit overnight to absorb the syrup.
17. Serve at room temperature

7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 4, 2011 1:52 pm

    You made your own phyllo pastry? WOW! I am beyond impressed. What a great post. Clear instructions, step-by-step photographs and a great recipe.

  2. July 13, 2011 4:28 pm

    You mean I don’t have to rely on store-bought phyllo? I think a whole new world is opening up for me. Now just to get over the fear of tearing the dough beyond recognition when I stretch it out thinly…

    PS: I’m crazy about baklava – yours look divine.

    • July 13, 2011 10:44 pm

      I know, I was frozen with fear at first, but then you realise that it doesn’t have to be perfect for it to taste yum.

  3. July 28, 2011 2:29 am

    I’ve been wanting to experiment with baklava and I’m so happy that you posted a chocolate version! What a great idea and it looks so good. :) Thank you!

  4. pinkpolkadotfood permalink
    July 28, 2011 10:18 am

    You are very brave!!

  5. July 28, 2011 1:06 pm

    Thanks Iscribbler and Pink Polka Dot! :)

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