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 the 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 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!

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.

 

Dill Pickle Peanuts

In the past month we have been harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs from the garden. Typically my wife snags a cucumber and handful of tomatoes for lunch, which is a great thing. Me on the other hand, well, think about ways I can make meals using whatever produce we can harvest. As I was walking along the garden, I realized I had a bunch of dill to use. As I typically love buying fresh dill, the reality is it doesn’t last but a day, if that, before it gets limp and unusable. That is if you don’t freeze it, which I recently found out!

So while looking at the dill, that’s when it popped into my head, why not try making some dill flavored peanuts. I’ve been tinkering with mixed nuts this summer, I love dill, my kids love snacking on nuts, and let’s just see what happens. What happened was pretty darn delicious as a snack.

This recipe is super simple.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of Spanish Peanuts
  • 1 tbsp your favorite seasoning blend (make sure it has some dill in it)
  • 1 tbsp dried onion
  • 2 tbsp canola or olive oil
  • 1 cup of fresh dill fronds, lightly chopped, packed
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Begin by preheating your oven to 325.

To a mixing bowl, add everything but the baking sheet and parchment paper, and give a good toss, incorporating all of the seasoning and oil onto the peanuts.

Dill Pickle Peanuts Recipe
Dill Pickle Peanuts Recipe

Spread the mixture onto the lined baking sheet and place into the preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the peanuts while they are baking and feel free to give them a gentle stir halfway through.

Ingredients for Dill Pickle Peanuts
Ingredients for Dill Pickle Peanuts

Once cooked, remove them from the oven and place them into a serving bowl. Let them cool down before digging in. These are a perfect game day snack, balanced with hints of dill and a seasoning blend. Give these a try if you are looking to use up some dill in the near future! Hope you enjoy!

Berry Danish Recipe

The goal this summer was to beat cancer and to keep my daughter occupied. Both are big challenges, and I think I am winning both at this point in time. The first challenge has been a total battle, but being the warrior that I am, I think I am at the tail end in finding out the outcome, and the second one, as challenging as it might not sound, has been a tough one as well. I’ll be honest. My daughter is pretty bored this summer, and unfortunately there has not been a whole lot I can do based on my condition to keep her busy. There has been one thing I have been active doing though and that is teaching her how to bake and cook in the kitchen. This is something that she has always loved, and I can say that it has been a joy teaching her new things. This one in particular was teaching her how to make a berry danish.

Homemade Berry Danish Recipe
Homemade Berry Danish Recipe

I knew that she was going to love pretty much all of this, but there is one thing that she was going to question and that was the cream cheese. Something that she doesn’t really like, nor eat on a regular basis. My hope is that by using it in the desert factor that she would get over that hump and really enjoy the combination of berries and cream cheese. I think she loved them!

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 14-ounce package frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 cups of blueberries, washed
  • 2 cups of blackberries, washed
  • Pinch kosher sal
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 8 ounces package of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg
  • Splash water or milk

Begin by making the berry mixture. Combine the honey, half of the blueberries, half of the blackberries, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook this down for about 15 minutes, stirring during the simmer. About 15 minutes in add the rest of the berries and simmer gently about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, set aside to cool to room temperature. The goal is to have some texture to the berries.

Next, make the cream cheese filling. Beat together the cream cheese and the egg yolk. Set aside. That’s it, simple stuff.

Get out two baking sheets and line them with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Homemade Berry Danish Ingredients
Homemade Berry Danish Ingredients

Unfold your puff pastry and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Try to keep the pastry cold while you continue to work on each individual one. The colder the better. No one likes working with room temperature pastry dough.

Roll the puff pastry into a 4-x-9-inch rectangle on a sheet of parchment. Use a ramekin or cookie cutter and cut them into circles, repeating as you continue to lay them out on the parchment paper, leaving about an inch or so between each circle.

Take a fork and gently poke each  pastry circle. Add a tablespoon of cream cheese filling into the center of each pastry circle, then put the entire tray into the freezer for 20 minutes. Next, whisk together the egg and and water and set aside.

After 2o minutes, remove the the pan from the freezer and brush the edges lightly with egg wash. Spoon a very heaping tablespoon or so of the berries on top of the cream cheese.

Homemade Berry Danish Recipe
Homemade Berry Danish Recipe

Bake the pastries 15 minutes at 400°F, then reduce the heat to 375°F and bake 10 minutes more, until the pastries are deeply golden. Once cooked, remove the pastries to a wire rack and let cool. Now it’s time to dig in!

The result is a perfect bite. An awesome pastry that is creamy and fruity and is just a real treat anytime of the day. Did my daughter like them? I think so, especially after she investigated the cream cheese for a long period of time, but she got over it and asked for seconds. Hope you enjoy!