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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

A Hot Day on a Farm and Apricot Baklawa #FoodieReads

I was inspired to make this recipe after apricot picking in Hollister one weekend and after diving into the book Bethlehem: A Celebration of Palestinian Food by Fadi Kattan (on Amazon.com).


If you are concerned or bothered by me sharing a Palestinian recipe without acknowledging what is happening in that country right now, please see the post Deconstructed Sayadieh, the Power of Food, and Other Palestinian-Inspired Bites from earlier this week.



On the Page

I was inspired to order the cookbook Bethlehem: A Celebration of Palestinian Food by Fadi Kattan after hearing the Palenstinian chef interviewed on NPR. In the midst of all the violence in the country, Kattan was having a conversation with the moderator about the beauty and simplicity of the country's cuisine. It was actually a beautiful, wistful, and even hopeful.


Kattan is a Franco-Palestinian chef who has two restaurants: Fawda in Bethlehem and Akub in London. He fell in love with cooking in his mother and grandmother's kitchens before he formally trained in Paris. He wrote the book to show readers his Bethlehem. Every recipe includes memories from his childhood for example - in "Breakfasts with Baba Fuad" - he shares: My father would always wake up before everybody else to squeeze the oranges when they were in season and receive a delivery of warm bread - white crusty loaves from the Salesian Bakery, round kmaj (pitas) from Al0Shweiki Bakery, or the wood-fire baked sesame ka'ek al quds. He would also take out the small dishes from the fridge that would have been prepared the night before - creamy labeneh (strained and seasoned yogurt) and chunks of white Nabulsi cheese, covered in olive oil (pg. 14).


He introduces readers to his beloved producers, as is "Olive Oil with Abu Mohammad in Sebastia," writing: I met Abu Mohammad, a restaurant owner, on one of my first visits to Sebastia. He is known locally for his fantastic musakhan, an emblematic dish of Palestine, sometimes called our national dish. It is created with a dark taboun bread and soft onion confit coated in purple sumac and glistening olive oil, all crowned with roasted chicken (pg. 160).


In addition to his hungry-inducing prose, the photos are stunning. But my measure of a worthwhile cookbook purchase is whether it sends me into the kitchen. And I have made more than a dozen recipes and plan to make even a dozen more. I have shared his Fig Salad, Loukmet Broccoli, and Fig Leaf-Wrapped Cheese. I have made, but haven't shared, lamb stew, grilled lamb chops, and pickled olives.


Once I get my hands on some grape leaves - thanks to Jenn and Belle - I will roll his kofta in grape leaves. Stay tuned for that. But for today's post, I was inspired to try a sweet from Bethlehem.


A Hot Day on the Farm


Earlier in the month one of my best friends invited me to pick apricots at her friend's farm. Her friend called it off that weekend as there weren't enough ripe fruits on the trees. The following weekend our mission was a go and we headed inland where the temperature was at least twenty degrees warmer than the coast. Within the hour we were picking, the mercury climbed even higher. It. Was. Hot.


We weren't there very long, but we did leave with enough apricots to make a few fun dishes. I roasted. I jammed. I ate. And I tried to oven-dry which was a disaster. But a riff on Kattan's Apricot Baklawa was a rousing success. So I am sharing that here...


Apricot Baklawa

This is my adaptation of his recipe. I used roasted apricots instead of poaching them with mastic as Kattan does. I don't even know what mastic is. But the texture of these are almost jam-like.


Ingredients

  • approximately 2 dozen roasted or poached apricots

  • approximately 2 dozen filo sheets, defrosted

  • 1 cup butter, melted

  • 1 cup pistachios, crushed in a mortar

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • 3 Tablespoons organic granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon rosewater

  • juice from 1 lemon

  • Also needed: parchment paper, baking dish


Procedure


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


Line a baking dish with parchment papet and brush it with melted butter. Take the filo sheets individually and brush them with melted butter. Stack 8 sheets in the baking dish. Place nine apricots about an inch apart. Sprinkle with crushed pistachios. Repeat until all of the sheets, apricots, and pistachios are used, finishing with filo dough.


With a sharp knife, slice the baklawa into diamonds (I cut them into triangles because I am spatially challenged!).


Place in the oven and bake until golden brown and crispy, approximately 40 minutes. Let cool.


Place honey, sugar and extract in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the syrup coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the lemon juice and let cool.


An hour before serving, pour the syrup over the baklawa and let it soak in.



I am adding this to the July #FoodieReads link-up.

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1 commento


Wendy Klik
Wendy Klik
2 days ago

I was looking forward to this month's Eat The World challenge so I could acknowledge the problems there right now. I'm heading over to ready your post on it now.

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