Now THAT’S what I call an absence! Don’t let it be said that I half-ass things around here!
But seriously, sorry about that. See, I had good excuses, and when I ran out of good excuses, I just had shame. I won’t let it happen again, promise.
Now, let me tell you about this mystery dessert. See, I went home for a few days last week for spring break (SPRING BREAK, WOOOO), only to have it rain, which meant that I wore my pyjamas the entire time I was home (to be honest, I rarely change out of my pyjamas when I am home, so the rain was to my advantage).
This led to me surfing through my mother’s recipe box, which is unlike most Mothers’ Recipe Boxes in that my MRB consists mostly of recipes cut out from the paper, or handed down from some relative who cooked (some DISTANT relative, knowing my close ones as I do), or, very rarely, written on an actual recipe card.
This was written down as “Lazy Baklava – Albanian Gjalpanik”. Since I have no ethnicity, I was so stoked to get to pretend to be Albanian, until I searched the internets, and learned this dessert does not exist.
I also like things that don’t exist. LET’S MAKE IT
Start with one pound of walnuts almonds. The recipe said to use walnuts, but I don’t like walnuts as much as I like almonds.
Grind those nuts! Grind them finer than I did! You want them chunky, far from nut paste or nut flour, but fairly broken down. You should grind them finer than I did; I had to stop early because I was afraid of waking my brother. It was eleven in the morning and he hadn’t gone to bed until four.
Add your nuts to a bowl, along with four cups of flour and one tablespoon of baking powder. This dough is so short that the baking powder does not make as terrifyingly huge of a difference as it might seem it would. Also, use a bigger bowl than I did. Because holy Flour Mountain.
Now, melt one pound of butter. Don’t even give me that look. Also, check out that tiny yellow flowerpot! When my mom is using her multiple pill boxes, we use that instead to weigh down our “DISHES ARE CLEAN” paper chunk.
Add the butter to the dry goods. It might be kind of hard to stir at first, but it comes together pretty easily. Note that I switched to a larger bowl, for ease in stirring.
Add the mixture to a 13x9x2 inch baking dish. This is slightly smaller than that (maybe one inch smaller, not that much), but it all fit. Flatten out the top with a spatula or a spoon. Try not to notice that there is butter pooling on top.
Bake at 350° Fahrenheit for about forty minutes. It is done when it is firm and golden brown on top.
Now, this is important. Make sure that you let this cool completely. Then cut it into squares, or triangles, or half, whatever you’d like. It is important to cut it now, because we are about to add some syrup.
Bring half a cup of honey, one and a half cups of water, and two and a quarter cups of sugar to a boil. Add in the shaved zest of half of a lemon, and let boil for twenty minutes.
While the syrup is boiling lava hot, and the gjalpanik is cooled completely, pour the syrup all over the top. You may not end up using all the syrup, I had about half a cup left at the end. What is important is to cover the entire top of the gjalpanik with the syrup while you pour, because the edges can get dry otherwise.
Let this sit for several hours. You need to allow all the syrup to soak into the gjalpanik.
This was amazing. I am not going to lie to you- it is not a baked good that can be eaten with one’s hands (however, it is awesome in a bowl with a spoon, in front of Gossip Girl, or whatever classy television show you watch). Another truth: the syrup will pool on the bottom when you remove slices. If you think this is a bad thing, then we can’t be friends.
Speaking as someone who has made baklava from scratch, only to feel murderous after three hours had gone by, I am a fan.
1 pound walnuts (almonds also work)
1 pound butter
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup honey
zest of one lemon
Grind the nuts well. Add to a bowl with the flour and the baking powder. Melt the pound of butter and add it to the dry goods; mix to combine. Pour into an ungreased 9x13x2 inch baking dish, and bake at 350 for about forty minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool completely before adding syrup. Cut into whatever shape you like.
In a medium saucepan, add all the syrup ingredients and bring to a boil. Boil for twenty minutes. Fish out the spent lemon peel and pour the boiling syrup all over the baklava, making sure to coat every surface with it (you may not use all the syrup). Let sit out for several hours, overnight is even better.