Homemade Baklava using D’Vash

I find it interesting that over the last few months there are a couple of boxes of fillo dough and puff pastry in my freezer. I’m almost certain I had a couple of ideas bouncing around in my head during those purchases, but it was not until team members from D’Vash Organics contacted me once again to partner with them in creating yet another great recipe using their amazing D’Vash Date Nectar.  That’s when I knew exactly what I was going to make. A traditional baklava, in some ways, but using D’Vash date nectar in replace of honey. The result was mind blowing to say the least.

Homemade Baklava using D'Vash
Homemade Baklava using D’Vash

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 rolls or 1 box of fillo dough, thawed
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups of shelled pistachios
  • 2 cups of walnuts
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of D’Vash date nectar
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Start by making your sweet sauce that will be used after the baklava has baked. You will want to do this ahead so that it has time to cool.

Add 3/4 cup of sugar, water, lemon juice, and D’Vash date nectar to a small pot. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, then once boiling reduce the heat and cook for about 5 more minutes. Stir along the way. After 5 minutes, remove from the heat and let it cool.

Now the backbreaking work. Just kidding. This is the only time consuming part, and if you are having your kids help, this can take a bit of patience as unlayering each piece of fragile fillo can be a bit nerve wracking. Just make sure your fillo dough is completely thawed. I set mine out the day before and place it in the refrigerator overnight for a day or two to ensure it is completely thawed.

Get a baking sheet out, or if your are super detailed get a baking dish out that will fit your sheet of fillo dough. I go with my baking sheet and make sure that when I layer each fillo that it matches up with the previous fillo dough.

Make the sugar and nut mixture. To a food processor, or use a knife if you desire, pulse the nuts into a fine chop. Add the nuts to a bowl along with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and cinnamon and give that a good mix.

Get your bowl of melted butter ready along with a pastry brush. Unroll a roll of fillo and get ready to baklava!

Place 10 fillo sheets onto the baking sheet one at a time, and brush each sheet with butter once it’s in the pan before adding the next sheet of fillo.  After the 10th sheet, spread about 1/5 of nut mixture over the fillo dough.

Do the same process, but this time layer only 5 sheets, buttering each sheet, then on the 5th sheet, top with the nut and sugar mixture.

Do this about 4 more times with the 5 sheet layer process, then on the final top, go back to the 10 stack of fillo, ensuring that all nut mixture is used up before layering the top 10 sheets of fillo.

Butter the top of the 10th sheet, then gently push down and form the baklava.

Homemade Baklava Ingredients using D'Vash
Homemade Baklava Ingredients using D’Vash

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Now let’s cut the baklava. Cut the fillo into about 2 inch strips, lengthwise, then make diagonal cuts to make somewhat of a diamond shape. If you want to keep things simple, just cut into rectangles, it’s up to you.

Place the baking sheet into the oven and cook for about 1 hour, up to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Once the baklava is a great golden brown, remove from the oven, and immediately ladle over the cooled syrup you made earlier, ensuring that you get into all of those crevices.

Now the hard part… waiting.

The goal is to not only let the baklava cool, but you want that syrup to penetrate all of that great fillo that you took your time stacking. After about 4 hours, go ahead and try the baklava, but trust me the longer you wait, the better it gets. Kids approved, neighbors and friends approved, and chef approved.

If you are looking for a great treat that will be sure to please everyone (with the exception of those with nut allergies), then give this baklava a try. The replacement of D’Vash really made this baklava stand out. It had this subtle tartness that really made this delicious baklava pop.

If you are wanting to try D’Vash Organics Date Nectar (and I highly recommend it), then head over to their store and pick some up. My lucky readers can use the coupon code DVASHSIMPLECOMFORTFOOD upon check out! Hope you enjoy D’Vash as much as we do!

Roasted Tomato Crostini Recipe

We are probably not unique this time of year whereas we are sitting on a bunch of tomatoes. I’ll admit that my wife loves tomatoes a lot more than I do, but when they are hanging from the vine or loaded in a bowl on my counter from a recent harvest, well I’m about to do something about it. That’s when I typically think about harvesting the rest of our basil from outdoors and making a fresh sauce to be used on pizzas or lightly tossed with some pasta, but this time around I decided to take a generous handful of tomatoes and slowly roast them. Why? Well, because I had some great day old bread on the counter, fresh tomatoes, and fresh basil, and that screamed one thing and one thing only. Roasted tomato crostini.

Roasted Tomato Crostini Recipe
Roasted Tomato Crostini Recipe

This is a super simple recipe to make, can feed a crowd, and is really delicious especially with the roasted tomatoes.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 whole roma tomatoes, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 loaf day old French bread, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, lightly torn
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, optional
  • mozzarella balls, optional

Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees. To a parchment lined baking sheet, add the sliced tomatoes. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and place into the preheated oven, cooking for about 45 minutes

During this time, slice the bread. Remove the tomatoes, and let them cool.

Roasted Tomato Crostini
Roasted Tomato Crostini

Add the bread to the oven, and cook just until lightly crisped.

Take the bread out and rub each piece of the bread with the garlic clove.

Chop up the cooled tomatoes, and add to a bowl with the freshly torn basil. Add in the olive oil and gently stir.

Lay out your bread onto a serving tray, and spoon on the tomato and basil mixture.

Roasted Tomato Crostini
Roasted Tomato Crostini

Add the mozzarella balls in between some of the crostini for those that want to add a bit of cheese to their bite.

Dig in and enjoy. That lightly toasted garlic bread topped with fresh basil and roasted tomatoes really make this a perfect bite for any occasion. Hope you enjoy!

Salmon Crostini

Lately, we have been trying to incorporate fish into our diet at least once a week. We seem to default on baked salmon as it is something that everyone seems to enjoy. Typically this salmon is a pretty big slab of fish, so there is plenty of leftovers for my wife to bag up for lunches throughout the week, or for me to make a quick brunch snack, or light lunch. So as I had both leftover baked salmon, and some leftover day old rustic bread, I decided to make a great salmon crostini.

Salmon Crostini Recipe
Salmon Crostini Recipe

I thought this would be a great use of my leftovers as well as being able to use up some dill from the garden. These salmon crostini were not only super easy to put together, but whoa were they ever delicious.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • Roughly 1/4 cup of baked flaked salmon, per crostini
  • 1/4 inch thick slice of your favorite rustic bread, lighty toasted
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp thinly sliced red onion, per crostini
  • 2 tbsp Chive and Onion cream cheese, per crostini
  • Fresh dill, to your liking

Once your bread is lightly toasted, rub the clove of garlic on the bread to infuse that garlic onto the toast.

Once you are done with that, spread on the cream cheese. Top with the flaked salmon, then add the red onions, and fresh dill.

Salmon Crostini Ingredients
Salmon Crostini Ingredients

Now you are ready to serve. I thought I was just going to eat one of these, but it was so good I decided to make one more. The lightly garlic toast coated with that cream cheese (which I never really buy), and topped with that salmon, along with the red onion and dill?! C’mon, it’s an awesome bite and would be a perfect holiday appetizer or game day snack. I hope you enjoy!

Salmon Crostini
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: N/A
 
Ingredients
  • Roughly ¼ cup of baked flaked salmon, per crostini
  • ¼ inch thick slice of your favorite rustic bread, lighty toasted
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp thinly sliced red onion, per crostini
  • 2 tbsp Chive and Onion cream cheese, per crostini
  • Fresh dill, to your liking
Instructions
  1. Once your bread is lightly toasted, rub the clove of garlic on the bread to infuse that garlic onto the toast.
  2. Once you are done with that, spread on the cream cheese. Top with the flaked salmon, then add the red onions, and fresh dill.
  3. Serve.

 

Rustic Daily Bread with Cheese

Nothing beats a chunk of bread with some lightly salted butter. It’s one of those things that our entire family loves. Since being laid up with cancer, I set out on a mission to master a great loaf of bread, and one that would not be labor intensive. Sure, I’ve nailed Lahey’s stecca recipe and for the most part they turn out really great, but I wanted to make something a bit more substantial, and something that would last a couple of days. Yes, my kids will take down a boule in a sitting if I let them. That’s what I love about this daily bread. Not only is it simple, but there is something about how rustic to it. This bread is great for sandwiches, tearing off chunks, and probably goes great with a glass of wine.

Rustic Daily Bread Recipe
Rustic Daily Bread Recipe

I’ve never been one to measure, but when it comes to baking, it is something that I think is a must. I use a digital scale for measuring things about, but like pizza dough and bread, I think there are factors that can impact the outcome. Temperature, flours, rise, etc. Don’t get frustrated if your first batch doesn’t work out, and keep trying.

Let’s get started.

  • 1000 g bread flour, or all-purpose
  • 720 g water, roughly 92 degree F
  • 21 g of salt (I like to use kosher)
  • 4 g active dry yeast

Four simple ingredients yields to boules and you will want to make another batch in a couple more days!

To a large mixing bowl, and I mean large as this is going to rise and double, if not more, in size. Add in the flour, and the water. Mix with your hands until the water is incorporated. Cover and set aside for about 30 minutes.

Next top the mixture with the salt and the yeast. Wet your hands slightly, and mix well, making sure all of that flour mixture eats up the salt and yeast.

Cover and place in a warm spot (I set my container on my kitchen table where the sun comes in). After 30 minutes, it’s time to fold the dough Take an edge and fold over the top of the dough. Repeat this process roughly four times. Cover, and place back onto the warm spot. About 40 minutes into that rest, fold again. The hard part is over! Cover, and let this rise for about 4-6 hours.

I start this process when I wake up, this way I have warm bread later that day.

Rustic Day Bread Ingredients
Rustic Day Bread Ingredients

Once the dough has risen, lay out flour on a work surface. I use a big old bread board. Plop the dough onto the floured surface, then divide the dough into two portions. Flour the top of each dough ball, then cover to let rest for about 30 minutes.

During this time, preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Yep, ripping hot. If you have a dutch oven, preheat that as well.

Shape the dough into a ball, cover with cheese (if using), then fold and reshape into a ball, turning it over seam side down.

Remove the dutch oven from the oven with your kitchen mits, and carefully place the dough, seam side down into the dutch oven. Cover, place back into the oven and cook for about 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove the lid, and cook another 15-20 minutes.

Remove onto a wire rack to let cool, then repeat with your second loaf.

Slice into that bad boy and enjoy!