SEARCH BLOG: HOLIDAYS
Cold-weather holidays are especially enjoyable around the Hall family because we keep alive an old recipe from my Armenian grandmother. Unfortunately, my German side is only represented by a strong appetite for veal bratwurst and German-style potato salad... maybe some sauerbraten... but that's not too bad in the summer.
But, back to the recipe.... It is quite simple:
- very thin dough
- lots of butter
- chopped walnuts
I used to roll out the dough the traditional way... on a broom handle. That consisted of a small lump of very rich dough [eggs, butter] rolled out paper thin. I've gotten lazy as I've gotten older and the family has gotten larger ... and the amount of pastry I have to make has gotten proportionally larger.
Now I use Greek Phyllo dough.... After chopping the walnuts and melting the butter, I lay out four sheets of dough and spread the butter with a small brush.
Then sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the buttered dough.
and "accordion" the dough as shown below.
Arrange several sheets as shown below...
and cut carefully. A very sharp knife can be simply pressed downward to make the cuts.
Place the cut strips into a baking pan. I use some old, heavy-gauge, stainless-steel pans that heat evenly and don't warp from the heat. Four sheets of dough will fill one row of the pan.
Note the presence of a large spatula which is needed a little later.
Pour the melted butter over the pastries so that the dough is wet, but not swimming in the butter. Usually, this is about 1 to 1-1/2 cups for the 12" x 18" tray.
Bake the pastries about 14 [13-15] minutes at 330°F. This is about right for our electric oven, but gas ovens may get hotter and cook quicker at that setting. You'll have to adjust for your own oven. Ideally, the dough should be lightly browned... just starting to crisp up, but still flexible. [NOTE THAT COOKING TIMES MAY BE LONGER FOR THE INITIAL PHASE IF YOU PACK THE PIECES TOO TIGHTLY].
Then carefully tilt the pan and hold the pastries in place while you drain the excess butter from the pan. About 1/2 minute of draining should be sufficient.
Then put back in the oven for 4 [3-5] minutes until the pastries are golden brown and repeat the draining of the butter until most of the excess is drained. That may take a minute. It should look like this.
Let the pastries cool down and then drizzle honey over the strips in the pan.
Serve and enjoy. It won't matter if you are Armenian, German, Irish, African or whatever. You will love this.