June 19, 2005
Inspired by the salty and sweet combo from the Bacon Brittle recipe found in Everything Tastes Better with Bacon I decided to use up some of the extra bacon I had and a bit of the 3 boxes of phyllo dough Jill gave me when she moved and make Bacon Baklava, or as I like to call it Bak'nlava. It kinda sounds scary at first but just imagine crunching into buttery layers of salty bacon, sweet maple syrup and crunchy nuts. It's like a breakfast party in your mouth, Greekstyle! Now I imagine I couldn't have been the only person to ever think to do this, but I have not found a recipe even remotely similar online (only purely savory baklavas with spinach and cheeses etc.), so there is a good chance this is an original Yang Family recipe to add to the files. I cut back on some of the sugar in the recipe you see below as the original version I made pictured above was a bit too sweet for my tastes. I know baklava is supposed to be very sweet, but I'm more of a salt girl than a sugar girl. So feel free to adjust the amount of sugar to your liking.
1 pound frozen phyllo dough, thawed (about 20 sheets)
1 12oz package of bacon, cooked to a crisp and finely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 Cup of finely chopped walnuts or pecans
¼ Cup of brown sugar
2 tsps of ground cinnamon
1 tsp of nutmeg
1 tsp of salt
1½ sticks of butter (12 Tbsps) melted (for extra bacon flavor you can add a few tablespoons of the fat rendered off the cooked bacon)
¾ Cup of maple syrup
¼ Cup of water
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Combine bacon, nuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl.
Unroll the thawed phyllo dough and cover with a damp towel to keep unused layers from drying out. Brush the bottom of a baking sheet (lined with silpat) or a 9x13 baking pan with the melted butter mixture. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough in the pan and brush the entire phyllo sheet lightly with butter. Place another sheet of phyllo on top and repeat with butter and phyllo until you have 6 sheets of phyllo.
Sprinkle about 6 Tbsps of the nut mixture evenly over the top phyllo sheet. Top with a sheet of phyllo, lightly butter and top with a second sheet of phyllo. Repeat this until there are 5 layers of the nut mixture or all of the nut mixture is used up .
Use up the rest of the phyllo sheets (there should be about 6 sheets left), making sure to butter between each layer.
Brush the top and sides of the phyllo stack with butter. Using a sharp knife, score the top few layers of the baklava into parallelograms making sure not to cut all the way through to the bottom. Bake for 40 minutes until light golden brown.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan bring the maple syrup and water to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes. When the baklava is out of the oven drizzle the hot syrup mixture over the baklava and let it cool completely. Following the scorelines you made previously, cut into pieces and serve.