Baklava

I am writing about baklava again.  It is Victory Day, celebrating the end of World War II, and to celebrate Maya brought us a whole plate!  Wow.  I think these are the best we have ever had.  Eli and Jake think so too!

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After two years living here in the land of nuts and honey, we have developed a discerning taste for what is good versus what is exceptional.  I think Azerbaijani baklava is much better than the traditional Turkish kind, and is sadly something we will probably never see after we leave here.  You can see in the picture above that it is thicker and cut like diamonds.  Instead of a big puffy layer of phyllo dough on top, there is only a thin layer on both sides, with a dense layer of ground nuts between them.  Everything is soaked with sugar syrup, and sometimes a little honey.  There is very little rose water or spices, and actually very little honey, which makes them very nutty!  My favorite is walnut :).  I don’t know why, with options like almond and hazelnut, I would never choose a walnut.  But somehow, for some reason, it works here.

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In the bakeries they vary a lot, both in price and in quality.  When Mike and I have done our own taste tests at home, we both agree that the expensive ones taste better.  Maya told me today that the more expensive they are, the more nuts they have.  To keep prices down, some bakers will mix the nuts with toasted bread crumbs.  They are okay, but they don’t taste the same.

The ones on this plate were solid nuts.  Thank you Maya!!!  We LOVE them.

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