Cooking with Jonathan By Jonathan Jolicoeur

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In this weekly culinary column, I will be focusing on one dish – giving the reader a quick history of the dish, the classical preparation of it, and of course, my own spin on the classic

This week I have chosen to cover baklava, which is a is a phyllo-stlye pastry. This pastry is very rich and is layered with chopped nuts and butter. Honey is commonly poured over the top after baking. The origin of both its history and name are disputed.

Traditional baklava recipe

1 lb​Phyllo pastry sheets
¾ lb​Unsalted butter, melted
2 cups​Honey, warmed
1 lb​Walnuts (8 oz finely chopped, 8 oz ground)
1 tbsp​Ground cinnamon
1 tbsp​Sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix the walnuts, sugar and cinnamon – then set aside. Carefully remove phyllo from packaging. Cut phyllo to the size of your baking dish. Using a pastry brush, brush the baking dish with butter. Begin layering your phyllo, brushing each layer with butter and dusting with the walnuts. Continue to layer until all butter and walnuts are used, or until desired size is achieved. Bake for 30 minutes, or until phyllo is golden brown. Pour warmed honey over the top and allow to soak for an hour. Serve cold or at room temp.

Jonathan’s baklava recipe

1 lb​Phyllo pastry sheets
¾ lb​Unsalted butter, melted
2 cups​Honey, warmed
½ lb​Walnuts (4 oz finely chopped, 4 oz ground)
½ lb​Pistachios (4 oz finely chopped, 4 oz finely ground)
½ lb​Pecans​(4 oz finely chopped, 4 oz finely ground)
1 tbsp​Ground cinnamon
1 tbsp​Sugar
1 tbsp​Sea salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix the walnuts, pistachios, pecans sea salt, sugar and cinnamon – then set aside. Carefully remove phyllo from packaging. Cut phyllo to the size of your baking dish. Using a pastry brush, brush the baking dish with butter. Begin layering your phyllo, brushing each layer with butter and dusting with the mixed nuts. Continue to layer until all butter and walnuts are used, or until desired size is achieved. Bake for 30 minutes, or until phyllo is golden brown. Pour warmed honey over the top and allow to soak for an hour. Serve cold or at room temp.

Whether you choose to prepare the classic, my twist or your own interpretation, remember that food is about bringing people together and that the act of cooking is about caring and as long as your heart is in the dish you prepare, the people you are cooking for will appreciate it (and you).

If you have any questions for me or would like to see me cover any particular dish in this column, feel free to write me, care of this publication. From my kitchen to yours, it is my pleasure to give you a peek into the mind of a chef. Thank You

Jonathan Jolicoeur is a chef at A Tavola – an Italian restaurant on Church Street in Winchester – which focuses on “farm to table” style of cooking. Jonathan was born in Somerville, lives in Woburn and has a degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

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