Authentic Lebanese Cuisine
Baklava comes in many shapes and sizes and is available with a variety of nut fillings in bakeries and grocery stores.  The following recipe is the traditional  diamond shaped baklava.  
2 lbs. chopped walnut or pistachio  baklava.jpg
3 tablespoons sugar  
3 tablespoons orange blossom water  
2 sticks unsalted sweet cream butter, melted  
1 package Filo dough (at room temperature)  
2 cups cold Ater (Sugar Syrup) 
  1. In a small bowl combine walnuts, sugar and orange blossom water.  Set aside.  
  2. Measure Filo dough and cut length and width according to size of pan measurements 15x10.  
  3. Count the number of sheets and divide by two, one half to use on bottom of nut mixture and the second half to use on top.  Cover Filo with a towel to keep from drying out.  
  4. Place one Filo sheet on bottom of buttered pan.  Brush with butter by starting at the edges and working towards the middle.  Layer the next Filo sheet and brush with butter.  Continue layering the first half of Filo sheets in this manner.
  5. Spread walnut mixture evenly and press down with back of spoon.  
  6. Repeat layering the second half of Filo sheets by brushing each with butter.  
  7. Cut diagonally into 2 inch diamond shapes.  
  8. Bake at 325° for 40 minutes.  Turn down temperature to 300° and continue baking for 20 minutes longer.  
  9. Cool completely and pour Ater evenly over baklava.    
  Yields 42 diamonds

(Sugar Syrup)  
  A must to most Lebanese desserts, this syrup can be prepared and refrigerated up to 2 months in advance.  
5 cups sugar  ater.jpg
2 ½ cups water  
3 teaspoons lemon juice  
1 tablespoon orange blossom water  
1 tablespoon rose water  
  1. In a saucepan, combine sugar and water over medium heat.  
  2. Stir consistently and bring to boil.  Add lemon juice.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 more minutes.  
  3. Add orange blossom and rose water and remove from heat.  Cool uncovered for at least two hours.    
  Yields 2 ½ cups

(Farina Cake)  
 This sticky Lebanese concoction can be prepared several ways but this is the tastiest recipe for coconut lovers.    

2 cups Farina  
1 cup shredded or shaved coconut  Namoura.jpg
1 cup sugar  
2 teaspoons baking powder  
2 tablespoons rosewater  
2 tablespoons orange blossom water  
1 cup milk  
1 tablespoon Tahini  
½ cup slivered amonds or pine nuts  
2 cups cold Ater (Sugar Syrup)  
  1. Combine Farina, coconut, sugar, and baking powder in a bowl and mix together.  
  2. Add rosewater, orange blossom water, and milk.  Knead together until all are combined.  Set aside uncovered for three hours to rise.  
  3. Coat bottom and sides of a 13 x 9 inch pan with Tahini. 
  4. Spoon Namura mixture and spread evenly using a tablespoon to press down gently.  
  5. Using a butter knife, gently cut halfway into the mixture making sure the knife does not reach the bottom of the tray.  Continue cutting pieces into diamond or square shapes.  Place one or two nuts in the center of each piece.  
  6. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until golden on top.  
  7. Pour cold Ater once you remove from oven and cool.    
Yields 40 squares     


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