Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Baklava Reinvented and More

Do you like Baklava? Have you ever had homemade Baklava? Have you ever tried to make it? Yes, well, it isn't the easiest thing in my repertoire (although one of the tastiest), and I think it has just been replaced with Greek Walnut Pie. All things considered, this was a cinch and oh so heavenly! This recipe came from the Best of the Pillsbury Bake-Off Desserts. I never can turn down a dessert cookbook.

Greek Walnut Pie

1 box (15 oz) refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box (This is the first time I have ever used store bought pie crusts, but I figured I would have purchased phylo dough for the real thing. The point is....this is supposed to be easy! Grin.)
2 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted, cooled
3/4 cup honey
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 pint (1 cup) heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 325 F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray. Make pie crusts as directed on box for Two-Crust Pie using sprayed pie plate.

In the medium bowl, mix walnuts, brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar and the cinnamon. Pour and evenly spread 1/4 cup of the cooled melted butter over bottom of pie crust. Spread walnut mixture evenly over butter. Drizzle another 1/4 cup butter over nut mixture.

Top with second crust; seal edge and flute. Cut large slits in several places in top crust. Drizzle with remaining 1/4 cup butter evenly over top crust.

Bake 45-55 minutes or until golden brown. About 5 minutes before removing pie from oven, in 1-quart saucepan, cook honey and lemon juice over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture has a watery consistency.

Remove pie from oven; place on wire rack. Slowly pour hot honey mixture evenly over top of hot pie, making sure it seeps into slits in top crust. Cool at least 3 hours before serving.

Just before serving, in a small bowl, beat topping ingredients with electric mixer on high speed about 2 minutes or until soft peaks form. (I added a little cinnamon to mine.) Spoon topping onto individual servings of pie.


And, because we can't live on dessert alone (although I'm sure I'd enjoy trying), here is another recipe recently added to our favorites from The International Cookbook for Kids. Even my picky-eater boys love it!

Ginger Beef with Green Beans

10 ounces fresh green beans
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 pound beef tenderloin
4 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sugar
1 green onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

Wash the green beans and string them. Cut into 2-inch sections.

Crush, peel, and finely chop the garlic. (Or you can cheat and use jarred spice like I did.)

Mix 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar with the garlic and pour over the beans. Set aside.

Cut the beef into thin slices. Stack the slices on top of each other a few at a time and cut them into strips. Place them in a glass bowl.

In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the marinade. Pour over the beef strips and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use, about 20 minutes.

Heat a wok (I just used a frying pan) on medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil. After 15 seconds, add the green beans, peanuts, and salt. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes. Removed the beans to a warm plate.

Reheat the wok and add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Heat for 30 seconds. Add the marinated beef, a little at a time, until all the beef and marinade are added. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes.

Return the green beans to the wok. Add the soy sauce and stir-fry for another minute.

Serve hot with rice.


heather said...

Yum-yum! Both look good to me. I am thinking I may make the Ginger beef with green beans for dinner tomorrow!

Heidi said...

Oh, I hope you like it, Heather! :) Let me know how it turns out.

Heasleye said...

Seth makes the most killer baklava for Christmas, but as I just went to the local nut farm and came back with 15 pounds of walnuts (cracked but still in the shell), I think I may need to try this pie! Both recipes sound great!
Happy Thanksgiving, Scovel family! We waved at you last Saturday as we drove through to Eugene for a swim meet. :)