Traditional American Dessert? Most would think of Apple Pie. Traditional Middle Eastern/Greek Dessert? Most would think of Baklava/Baklawa. So, why not combine both fabulous desserts into one! Apple Baklava, or Baklawa as I would prefer since I am of Syrian heritage, but most people only know of Baklava, so… Apple Baklava!
Unlike apple pie, this filling is simmered down into a beautiful apple caramel filled with walnuts and raisins, rather than raw apples going into a pastry, which often doesn’t cook them to perfection. This technique is easy and full-proof, also making it easy to roll the filling into a multi-layered phyllo dough pastry. Crunchy outer, caramelized inner, all around deliciousness.
Ingredients – 1 roll serves about 6 slices (though most boxes of phyllo dough have enough to make 2 rolls, so if you are feeling wise, double this recipe, make a second roll, and simply freeze the second roll, and bake that one when ready to serve another time. I made two here and gave one away!).
- Apples – 5, peeled, cored and sliced thin, toss in lemon juice (below)
- Butter – 3 tablespoons
- Olive oil – 2 tablespoons
- Lemon – 1 lemon juiced, saving zest
- Sugar – 1/2 cup
- Ground Cardamom – 1/4 teaspoon
- Ground Nutmeg – 1/4 teaspoon
- Ground Cloves – 1/8 teaspoon
- Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
- Walnuts halves – 1/2 cup, chopped
- Raisins – 1/4 cup
- Phyllo dough sheets – 10
Preparation – Preheat oven 350
In a large frying pan with a lid, place butter, olive oil, apples, sugar, and spices. Toss well and cook covered on medium for about 10 minutes. Remove cover and lower a bit to cook another 5 minutes, tossing occasionally. Turn off. With a slotted spoon remove all the apples. Add nuts and raisins and lemon zest, toss and set aside.
Phyllo dough is ordinarily basted with melted butter between the layers, but with the melted butter, olive oil and yummy flavors already in the pan, not to mention the extracted juices from the apples, we are going to baste each of the 10 layers of phyllo dough with that liquid! Place a parchment paper on a cookie sheet and begin to baste the layers. Once it is done, lay the mound of cooked apples in a log-shape in the middle of the dough.
Roll it up, baste all around, and make a few small slices at an angle on top of the dough, taking care not to cut through to the filling (this always makes phyllo easier to cut when baked).
Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden on top. Cool and slice. A little dollop of mascarpone on top is delicious as would be whipped cream, or nothing at all! When eating a day or two later, be certain to pop a slice into the oven for a few minutes to freshen up the crunch and warm the spice and apples.