Monday, August 4, 2014

When Was the First Time You Had This?

Baklava is something that I did not grow up eating. I think that the first time I sampled a piece was at Disney World's Epcot park, in the Moroccan section of the World Showcase. I was probably 20-something years old at the time, so, yeah, I was a little late to the party!

But, once I discovered this little gem I was hooked. I read many recipes and was intimidated by the process. I finally mastered the "real" way to make Baklava, but it is a very time-consuming process. A special occasion dish, for sure! I looked for an easier method and stumbled upon a recipe that uses refrigerated crescent rolls. My family was happy with it as a quick, sweet treat. For this challenge, I decided to substitute puff pastry for the crescent rolls and I used pecans, as that's what I had in my pantry. It's not a traditional baklava, but it's pretty tasty and very simple. We love it - I hope you do as well!
Good Cook Potluck Pantry Panic Puff Pastry Baklava
by Chris
adapted from this recipe for Quick Crescent Baklava at

3 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed enough to use
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups pecan pieces (chopped pecans), raw
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup honey
4 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces, divided (2 Tablespoons and 2 Tablespoons)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup pecan pieces (chopped pecans), toasted

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Using a Good Cook 13" x 9" Non-Stick Covered Cake Pan, unroll one sheet of puff pastry and place in the pan, aligning the puff pastry with the pan's edge. On a Good Cook Flexible Chopping Mat, gently unroll a second sheet of puff pastry and cut a smaller portion to the size needed to completely cover the pan bottom. Gently press the pastry sheets together, sealing the seam where they meet. Lightly prick the pastry all over with the tines of a fork, and bake in the 350°F oven for 4 minutes. Remove the pan and set it aside, allowing the pastry to rest.

Using a Good Cook mixing bowl and a Good Cook Silicone Spatula, combine the 1/2 of cup sugar, the 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and the 3 cups of raw pecans. Stir gently to combine.

Using a small sauce pan, mix the 1/4 cup of sugar, the 3/4 cup of honey, 2 Tablespoons of the butter, and the 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Stirring constantly, place pan over medium to medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once mixture is boiling, remove from heat and set aside.

Using your Good Cook spatula, spread the pecan, sugar, and cinnamon mixture evenly on top of your pre-baked puff pastry. Top the pecan mixture with the remaining puff pastry, again using a full sheet and cutting off of the third sheet as needed. Pinch the seams together, then gently but firmly cut 3 lines through the baklava, lengthwise. Do not cut all the way through to the pan, but do try to cut down to the bottom pastry layer. Proceed by making 6 even diagonal cuts (all in the same direction) across the entire pan in the same manner. Spoon about one third of the honey sauce over the entire pan, lightly covering the whole pan. Drizzle with extra honey if desired, and place the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter on top of the baklava, as evenly spaced as possible. 

Place pan into 350°F oven, uncovered, and bake for 25-35 minutes (begin checking it for browning at about 20 minutes - mine took 32 minutes). When puff pastry is brown and butter has melted, remove pan from oven. While still hot, sprinkle the 1/4 cup of toasted pecans evenly over the top, and drizzle with the remaining honey sauce. If you are afraid that you do not have enough sauce left, feel free to slowly reheat and add up to 1/4 cup of water. Allow baklava to cool before serving. It can be stored for up to a week on the counter top, covered with the lid that is included with the Good Cook pan.

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