Travelling from Greece each time, I’d always carry 3 kilos of baklava from Thessaloniki with me! I don’t know how I managed, but my arms were almost coming out of their place from baklava, carry on luggage and suitcase.
The syrup would stay within the package if I was lucky, otherwise I’d leave a small trail of sugar stickiness behind me.
In London I have tried many baklavades (the plural form for baklava in Greek) but never found one that is like the Greek ones I have had in Thessaloniki. Now there are many opinions as to which Zaharoplasteio (Ζαχαροπλαστείο) does the best one in the Greek culinary capitol, but London is starved of what I regard as the proper baklava. Either it’s too dry, or the syrup has no flavour, or not the right flavour.
The funniest thing that happened to me was years ago, in St Christopher’s place at a Turkish Restaurant there. The waiter brought me what he called to be the syrup, separately: a slice of lemon, two tea spoons of sugar and a cup of hot water. The idea was that I mix the sugar in the hot water and add the slice of lemon and then pour it over my dessert. Just like that!
Are you confused, or are you laughing?
The ingredients are more or less correct for making syrup but the ratios are totally wrong. You need a lot of sugar to make the syrup and to get it to combine well with the baklava one of them needs to be hot and the other cold! Ideally, you’ll pour the very hot runny syrup over a well cooled down baklava. Never hot syrup on hot baklava and never cold syrup on cold baklava either.
My search for the baklava has ended now that I’ve been making my own baklava, and usually we serve it in the Greek Supper Clubs or as a small treat in some of the Greek Cookery Classes.
But now with Easter week and the preparations for one of the biggest religious holidays in Greece, Easter being as big if not bigger than Christmas, we’re holding the first ever Tsoureki Greek Cookery Class! The aim is to bake Tsourekia from scratch and see the whole labour and process behind making these wonderful braided sweet breads.
If you’re not able to join the Greek Cookery Class 20 April, we have home-made Tsourekia available this week to save your Easter. Place your order via greekcookeryclass(AT)gmail.com
Limited availability but place your order in time to also arrange delivery/pick up, if you’re London based.