Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Baklava Pie (a.k.a. Greek Walnut Pie)

My husband L-O-V-E-S baklava. For those of you who are unfamiliar with baklava, it's a very rich and sweet pastry made with layers of phyllo dough and a mixture of nuts with honey or syrup. I usually make it once a year, during the holidays for my husband to bring to work as a "gift" to all his employees (and himself). They always gobble it right up and then beg me to make it over and over again throughout the year. I would make it more often, but it's very time consuming to make, not to mention a little pricey.
So, I was super happy when I recently came across a recipe for Greek Walnut Pie. It's a pie that tastes just like baklava, but takes a fraction of the time to make! I was sold and needed to make it immediately.
The results are just amazing. If you are a fan of baklava, then you will love this pie!
Here's the recipe:

Baklava Pie (a.k.a. Greek Walnut Pie)
(adapted from a recipe by Maria Irvine,

Pie crusts for a two-crust pie (homemade or store-bought)
2 1/2 cups walnuts, finely chopped
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 T granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup margarine or unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
3/4 cup honey
1 T lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Lightly spray a 9 inch pie plate with baking spray (glass works best).
Line the pie plate with one pie crust. Trim edges to fit plate.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the chopped walnuts, brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon; mix well.

Pour and evenly spread 1/4 cup of the melted margarine or butter into the bottom pie crust. Then spread the walnut mixture onto the top of the melted butter in the pie crust.
Then drizzle about 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of melted butter over the top of the walnut mixture (do not stir!).

Top with the remaining pie crust. Seal and flute the edges.
Cut multiple large slits in the top of the pie for steam to escape. Then brush the top crust with about half or more of the remaining butter.

Bake the pie for 45-55 minutes, until lightly golden brown. About 5 minutes before you remove the pie from the oven, heat the honey and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat until it has a watery consistency, stirring frequently.

Remove pie from the oven onto a wire cooling rack. Slowly pour the hot honey/lemon mixture over the entire top of the pie, making sure to let the mixture seep into the slits of the top pie crust. Brush onto the edges as well.

Cool for at least 3 hours before serving. Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes

My mom used to make fried green tomatoes for just her and I as a special treat once in a while during the summer when I was growing up. I remember running out into her garden with excitement and hunting down the perfect green tomato for her and I to share.
My mom would make her tomatoes using just seasoned bread crumbs and egg, but when I make my tomatoes today, I prefer using panko bread crumbs to make them extra crispy and cayenne pepper for a little kick. I also prefer using the "shallow fry" method of cooking instead of deep-fat frying. You can use whatever method you want though.

Fried Green Tomatoes
-Serves 4
(adapted from The Neelys on Food Network)

1/4 cup canola oil (for shallow frying) or use a deep-fryer
4 medium sized green tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 T garlic powder
4 eggs
2 T milk
1 1/2 to 2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper (add more or use less to your taste)
1/8 tsp paprika
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat (or heat a deep-fryer to 350 degrees).

In a shallow bowl, whisk together the egg and milk.
In a second shallow bowl, mix together the garlic powder and flour.
In a third shallow bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, paprika and cayenne pepper. Season with a little kosher salt and black pepper.

Lay the sliced tomatoes on a paper towel. Season both sides of all the tomatoes well with salt and black pepper.

When the oil is ready, dredge one tomato slice at a time into the flour mixture, then into the egg mixture and finally into the bread crumbs, making sure both sides are equally covered.
Place into the skillet and fry for 1-2 minutes on each side until dark golden brown (or cook 2-3 minutes if using a deep-fryer). Remove and drain on a paper towel. Season right away with more salt, if desired. Repeat until all the tomatoes are done.
Let rest for a couple of minutes, then enjoy!