My Baklava really is unique! It is unlike any you have ever tasted. It combines the history that made baklava what it is today, but it still has its unique taste and appeal.
My recipe has been in my family for generations. While the history of my version is Egyptian, it is unique even to other Egyptian baklava recipes! Here is some fun history about baklava....
The History of Baklava Baklava is one of those desserts that everyone wants to stake a claim to! As with the origins of most dishes that came from the ‘Old Countries”, the exact starting point of baklava is hard to define. This is due largely to the fact that every ethnicity that makes this scrumptious dessert puts a different spin on it to make it unique to that group. That being said, however, most people tend to agree that that the Assyrians were the first people who attempted to combine layers of dough with nuts and honey and bake it in ovens way back around 8th century B.C.
Historically, baklava was considered a food for the rich until mid-19th century. The Greeks, while traveling to Mesopotamia soon discovered the delights of Baklava and it mesmerized their taste buds! The Greeks' major contribution to the development of this pastry is the creation of a dough technique that made it possible to roll it as thin as a leaf, compared to the rough, bread-like texture of the Assyrian dough. In fact, the name "Phyllo" was coined by Greeks, which means "leaf" in the Greek language. In a relatively short time, in every kitchen of wealthy households in the region, trays of baklava were being baked for all kinds of special occasions from the 3rd Century B.C. onward. The Armenians, who’s Kingdom was located on ancient Spice and Silk Routes, integrated the cinnamon and cloves into the texture of baklava. The, the Arabs introduced rose-water and cardamom. The taste changed in subtle nuances as the recipe started crossing borders. To the north of its birthplace, baklava was being baked and served in the palaces of the ancient Persian kingdom. To the west, it was baked in the kitchens of the wealthy Roman mansions, and then in the kitchens of the Byzantine Empire until the fall of the latter in 1453 A.D. Eventually, the artisans and craftsmen of all origins: the bakers, cooks and pastry chefs who worked in the palaces, mansions and at other royal residences were recruited from various ethnic groups that composed these empire.
So....Armenian, Greek, Persian, Egyptian,Assyrian and occasionally Serbian, Hungarian or even French chefs were brought to be employed at the kitchens of the wealthy. These chefs contributed enormously to the interaction and to the refinement of the art of pastry-making in a vast region to include the Balkans, Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Persia, Armenia, Iraq and entire Mesopotamia, Palestine, Egypt, North Africa and the Mediterranean and Aegean islands. Towards the end of 19th Century, small pastry-shops started to appear in Constantinople and in major capitals, to cater the middle class, but the Ottoman Palace remained the top culinary "academy" of the Empire, until its end in 1923. From 18th century on, there was nothing much to add to baklava's already perfected taste and texture. There were, however, individual touches and some cosmetic modifications in shaping and in the presentation of baklava.