Baklava! I can't even say the word "baklava" without wanting to belly dance. My mom, the Mega Mom is a belly dancer (or a least she used to be). She used to go to dance the competitions. I remember my grown brother going once to support her and watch the show. My brother is a professor. He's very reserved. He takes after my dad. He called me afterward and said, "I need therapy after that. Seriously. A grown man should never see his grey haired mother belly dance."
I, on the other hand, take after my mother in many ways. I think it rocked that she got up there and danced. Reeeeeaaallly rocked! The Mega Mom is strong. She's dramatic and thoughtful. She's a powerful woman warrior! Whenever I used to go home to visit my mom in Utah, I'd try to get in at least one or two belly dancing classes with her. I loved how they celebrated all the shapes and sizes that women came in to class. There was no body shame connected with belly dancing at the Tribal class whatsoever. In fact, we actually would spend a few minutes at the beginning of class rubbing our bellies talking about the power of women. I loved it. That of course brings us to the subject of these little bad-boy baklava cups...because your belly size will not have to be an issue of concern if you decide to make these a regular part of your life. I reserve them for special occasions...but you can always make any given Tuesday a special occasion. Whip off your shirt and do a few belly dancing moves and nobody will even complain about the dessert. I swear. Dude. I digress.
Okay. Here's the deal. This Baklava cup is a faster simpler way to have all the flavors of the ever popular and traditional layered baklava, without the work of layering. I've adapted it from a recipe I found for Puff Pastry Baklava on the Pepperidge Farm website a couple years back. I use their puff pastry a lot. It is simple to use and the price is reasonable. The twist is going to be how I make the filling using a golden syrup that tastes similar to a "Sugar Daddy" candy and mix that with sugar, my cinnamon spice blend and just a hint of lavender and rose petal. The honey sauce that I drizzle over the top of the baked pastry is remarkable with just the slightest amount of heat from cayenne and the contrast of creamy vanilla. Serve these cups warm with a scoop of ice cream on top and I promise that everyone will rub their bellies, start talking about how strong and awesome you are...and maybe even start kissing you. I can't promise the kissing part.
Chef Tess Baklava Puff Pastry Cups
yield 12 cups
1 package frozen Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry
4 oz. butter
1/2 cup Lyle's Golden Syrup or light molasses
3 cups chopped walnuts
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp good Saigon cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp dry culinary lavender
Additional: 4 oz melted butter to drizzle over baked cups
1/2 cup honey
2 T lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dry culinary lavender
1 tsp dry culinary rose petal
Unfold 1 pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 9x12-inch rectangle. With a sharp knife, score the pastry surface to make 12 (about 4-inch) squares.
form into a cup in the muffin tins.
Heat the butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the walnuts. Cook and stir until the walnuts are lightly browned. Stir in the syrup, sugar and spice. Cook and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
Spread 1/4 cup walnut mixture in each of 12 bottom pastry cups.
Drizzle with the additional butter, about 1/2 Tablespoon per cup.
Bake at 375 degrees for 17-20 minutes, until golden brown.
combine the honey, lemon juice, cayenne, and vanilla. Drizzle the sauce over the pastries and sprinkle with dry lavender and rose petal.
Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess