Baklava

Greece. Turkey. Lebanon. Syria. Baklava is treasured by a wide array of cultures and countries, and for good reason. The combination of flaky phyllo and sugary walnuts is almost irresistible, and even if you can resist Baklava…why would you want to?

Baklava, by the way, just so happened to be the first pastry Steve ever learned to make. Although this recipe went on to become a Steve’s Backroom classic, Steve’s foray into baking had humble beginnings. “I burned six trays of Baklava because I forgot them and they kept cooking at the bakery,” Steve recalls of his first attempt at baking Baklava by himself. “The temperature was 300 degrees and I put six pans in a pizza oven. I came back the next day and they looked beautiful…but they were all black.”

With that said, keep a steady eye on your oven’s timer to avoid disaster! Now, a few words on the ingredients you’ll see listed below. Ghee, a Persian word for butter, is simply butter that has been clarified through boiling. This recipe requires quite a bit of fillo dough (also called “phyllo”), which you will need to pull, fold, tuck, and press at various intervals. We recommend using fresh fillo if at all possible to keep the dough from sticking together. Don’t be afraid to get handsy with your dough, by the way—it’s stronger than it looks. We’re particularly partial to Athens Fillo, and that’s not just because Steve used to distribute it. Stop by The Pantry to learn more about the Athens brand and story.

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Raspberry Bread Pudding

While this bread pudding was inspired by a dessert printed in a magazine, we think of it as belonging to Therese thanks to her unique take on the recipe. The original called for a variety of berries, but Therese felt that exclusively using raspberries would be much tastier. She was right (of course). The dessert quickly went from family favorite to Steve’s Backroom classic, and since a limited number of servings were made available each week, advance reservations weren’t unheard of for a piece of raspberry bread pudding topped with piles of whipped cream.

A few notes before we begin: This recipe doesn’t require an oven, but it does need a bit of time to become the best it can be. The entire dish will need to sit overnight before being served to allow the flavors to marinate and meld together. Trust us…it’s worth the wait!

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