The summer baklava
It’s been two years of Eat yourself Greek, two years of me being back in Athens.
Treats are in order. And a bit of a recap. Don’t worry it’s not going to be a story of my life post, there is baklava ice-cream with syrupy fillo cones in the end.
Head straight to the recipe.
So what happened over these two years? Well, apart from me getting a little chubbier I am pretty thrilled to see this little blog evolving into something so yummy.
After the previous hot and turbulent Athenian summer, I had a wonderful and much needed break in Mani. There has been many a time I was humming to myself, Should I stay or should I go tune. Well after a good meal and some sunshine you recharge the batteries and keep on going. It would be hard for me to change Athens for another city.
Autumn found me in the food blogging competition of Vima gourmet. I was blogging my heart out making recipes with humble pulses, see chickpea burger and creating recipes by reusing material, see tangerine peel truffles. We won! Yes, it’s we, I got the critics award because they liked my recipes but so many of you voted for me that I could not be happier. And I got the fans award, too! It’s great to know someone is listening when you share things you love. You rock my world!
A lot of lovely things came after this. You can see a few of my recipes at LaGreceJaime and more recently at Keep Talking Greece. I got myself behind a camera and did some filming, an amazing experience, very different to photoshooting recipes by yourself. If you are curious what it is like – it is hot, really hot and you better wear a sunblock. Are you excited about the videos? Me too, it will take a while longer for the videos to go live though. Some time in autumn I gather. For sure, you will be the first to know.
I am equally excited about my new shared project: Eat like a Greek. It’s a great experience sharing your meals and kitchen with travellers from around the globe. Even better when you have a great partner in crime, Artemis from Wonderfoodland. I don’t think there is another supper-club in Athens so far. Eat like a Greek is a dream coming true! Meeting wonderful people, cooking great food and sharing great experiences as we go.
I also owe sincere apologies for the delays on many guest posts I have promised and are still to be delivered. There are scribblings on notepads, scattered here and there, drafts I should have finished long ago. Fear not, they are coming and I promise it will look good!
The blog went Greek as well, not that this is of any concern of the English readers, it just
takes me double the time to write things up. I was counting posts, some 90 recipes and another 40 dedicated to my beloved Athens and beyond, attempting to open up a travel section as so many of you ask for tips and advice on your visit to Athens. I was also reminiscing of my very first posts, yemista, stuffed veg, soutzoukakia, the walks in Varkiza. I noticed how miserable my photos looked back then, a little dark, a little blue. My food photography skills are definitely getting better, I admit my sin: I used to be lazy enough to shoot with my mobile instead of the DSLR. Now the DSLR is in manual mode and it’s all looking much, much better. Tips for improving photography? Well, there is just one: practice! Practice a lot and then practice some more. No shortcuts.
But there is ice-cream, baklava ice-cream, with a special fillo dough cone and the flavour beats any parfait or vanilla ice-cream you have ever tried. How on earth did I come up with it? I wonder myself. Here is the story: I got myself an ice-cream maker, what I call my summer investment and I had some left-over spiced up nuts from the last baklava. My baklava ice-cream is a true story of laziness, re-use and experimenting. It was the 2nd ice-cream I made with my new plaything. It sums up my whole blog life, so I couldn’t help sharing.
A few thoughts on ice-cream making
Ice-cream basics – there are a few gadgets I love more than an ice-cream maker.
I am not a huge fan of non-churn ice-cream. Even though I have been making sorbets, I find them a little labour intensive and the texture is not always as smooth as I would like.
If you have one, you probably already now there is some prepping – the container needs to chill over-night, your ingredients need to be cooled before added for churning as well. So check manufacturers details for optimised use. Once done with your preparation it takes around 40 minutes to churn and freeze to enjoy. I followed the basics vanilla ice-cream instructions and here is the baklava ice-cream with syrupy fillo cones.
- 400 ml of milk
- 300 ml fresh cream
- 3 eggs, yolks only
- 1 tsp of vanilla essence
- 80 gr crushed almonds
- 80 gr crushed walnuts
- a pinch of cinnamon
- a pinch of ground clove
For the Fillo dough cones
- a few sheets of fillo pastry – 2 sheets of fillo pastry make 3-4 cones
- 125 gr of butter, a small stick
For the syrup
- 250 gr sugar
- 200 gr water
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Lemon peel
- A cinnamon stick
How to make the baklava ice-cream:
- Add the milk and fresh cream in a pot and warm up gently.
- In a mixing bowl, add the sugar, egg-yolks and vanilla essence, use a mixer to beat well.
- Add a bit of the warm mixture of milk & cream into the beaten eggs-sugar to even out temperatures
- Transfer this into the pot and cook over low heat, stir continuously until the mixture thickens (5-7 minutes).
- Remove it from the hob and let it cool down, either in room temperature or in the fridge if you are in a rush. it should be fairly chilled before you bring it into the ice-cream maker.
- Once completely chilled get your ice-cream maker ready and pour in the vanilla ice-cream mix.
- In a small mixing bowl add the almonds, walnuts, cinnamon and ground clove, mix them well.
- Let the ice-cream churn and add the spiced nuts mixture in the last 5 minutes.
Syrupy fillo cones
For the fillo dough cones you need approximately 2 sheets of fillo to make 3 large cones. I cut two sheets in 1/3 roughly, I made a simple foil mould to stand and wrapped it around, keeping it moist with melted butter. I normally make them on the day as they are super quick and they stay crunchy for serving.
Making the fillo cones
- Grab a short sheet of foil, approximately 10 cm length x the foil roll width. Roll the top left tip inwards so that it forms a cone. Keep the base as solid as possible.
- Melt the butter and cut the fillo dough sheets in stripes. Be swift because they tend to dry out if left exposed for two long.
- I make my stripes in rough thirds of the fillo sheet length but you could do ¼ as well for slightly smaller cones. Take two of the smaller fillo pieces and brush lightly with butter.
- Have the foil mould stand on a baking tray and gently wrap the buttered fillo around it. Tame the edges with butter so that it sticks. There will be leftover fillo at the base, turn these outwards and secure with a little melted butter. Do not turn it inwards, towards the foil mould, as once baked, you will not be able to remove it without cracking.
- Bake at 150 C for about 10 minutes, until golden.
- Once baked let it cool. To remove from the foil mould, put your fingers in its center and gently shake to ease it off. You can then pull the inner tip of the foil mould outwards so that you are left with a fillo dough cone.
- Add the water and sugar to the pan along with the lemon and cinnamon stick.
- Bring to the boil and let it simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
- To check if the syrup is done, dip in a spoon and let some drip on a plate. The drops formed should be solid and not runny.
- Dip the cooled fillo cones in the hot syrup and let them stand on a tray. You are ready to scoop ice-cream in, or use it as a party hat, like I did!
I hope you will enjoy this baklava ice-cream, before you go though, I have a favour to ask. I created a little survey that will help me see what you enjoy the most. Is it the recipes, is it the photography, are you hungry for travel?
Please click below, it will not take more than a few minutes.
From Athens with love,