Saturday, October 1, 2011

Foods of October: Hazelnuts

Planet: Sun
Element: Air
Energies: wisdom, conscious mind, fertility

Another name for Halloween is “Nutcrack Night”. Hazelnuts played an important part in divination on this night. Hazel trees are thought to be guardians against lightning. Hazelnuts are thought to bestow wisdom on those eat consume them. They stimulate the conscious mind. Eat hazelnuts before taking an exam or brainstorming for your next project. A symbol of fertility, hazelnuts were once placed into small bags and given to brides on their wedding days.

Source: Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen

Hazelnut Baklava

1 16-oz. package phyllo pastry, thawed, sheets cut in half
1 stick of butter, melted
1 lb. hazelnuts, coarsely ground (don’t grind too finely or you’ll end up with paste)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons sugar

For the syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
½ cup honey
Zest of 1 lemon

Butter a 9 x 13 pan and preheat the oven to 350.

Unroll the phyllo dough and cover with a damp towel.

Grind the hazelnuts with the sugar and pour into a bowl. Mix with the cinnamon.

Place 1-2 sheets of phyllo into the pan. Brush with butter. Repeat until you have 9 sheets.

Sprinkle with 1/3 of the nut mixture. Layer on more phyllo, brush with butter, and repeat. You should have three layers of hazelnuts in between layers of pastry.
Brush the top layer with butter, cut into triangles, and place in the oven. Bake until crispy, about 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the syrup by boiling the water, sugar , honey, and lemon zest together. Simmer about 15 minutes, until thickened. Cool slightly.
When the baklava comes out of the oven, pour over the syrup.

Cool completely before serving. Store uncovered so it doesn't get soggy.


Sapphire said...

That sounds AWESOME! Except that I don't like hazelnuts. I might try that and substitute walnuts. I loves me some walnuts :)

JustComment said...

This sounds amazing and you know how I love hazelnuts!