Good Fortune Baklava

Xmas_barbies_1 From Loretta:

I’m still on holiday break, but here’s a tidbit I wanted to share.

In the coming week, various Wenches will be posting about holiday traditions.

Here’s mine, short and sweet, literally.

It’s the Good Fortune Baklava.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baklava

Actually, it can be the Good Fortune kadaif or Good Fortune spinach pie (or leek pie or squash or whatever).  But in my Albanian family, here’s how it goes.

On New Year’s Eve, my mother bakes baklava.  There are more ways of making baklava than there are of making pizza.  Not only every Balkan/Middle Eastern ethnic group has its own variety but families have their own recipes.  My mother makes hers with the special flaky filo dough and a syrup of sugar and water with layers of walnuts combined with her secret ingredients.  All held together with vast quantities of clarified butter.

http://www.kitchenproject.com/history/Baklava.htm

In the old days, the ladies used to make their own filo dough.  I remember seeing sheets of the thin, thin stuff laid out on all the beds and every other flat surface, on pristine white sheets, to dry.  These days, though, we buy the dough at the shop that sells ethnic groceries. 

IQuarter_new_yearn the course of the preparation, Mum hides a quarter among the flaky layers.  After baking, the dessert is cut–she makes diamond-shaped pieces–and the pieces are handed round to family members by a complicated process involving numbers drawn out of a hat (to insure fairness).

The person who gets the piece of baklava with the quarter inside is supposed to have an especially good New Year.

But we are all guaranteed at least 10,000 calories apiece.

Do you have a New Year’s tradition?

Whether you do or not, I hope yours is filled with good fortune.

Happy_new_year_env

36 thoughts on “Good Fortune Baklava”

  1. From Sherrie:
    Loretta, I love baklava! My New Year’s Day tradition for many years was to jump off the bridge into Olalla Bay during the annual Polar Bear Jump. It’s a huge event here, with hundreds of jumpers and thousands of cheering onlookers. All the newspapers and TV crews show up, and many jumpers (myself included) wear funny costumes. The Olalla Polar Bear Jump is one of the oldest in the nation.
    I’ve retired from jumping now, but at my last jump a few years ago I made all the local newspapers and even TV. I jumped off the bridge dressed like an old woman–gaudy polyester dress, slip showing a mile below hem, rolled nylons, sturdy old lady shoes, a huge handbag, and a rubber mask of an ancient crone, complete with babushka.
    I clowned around in the water while the newspaper reporters took pictures. When I climbed out of the water, I turned my purse upside down and emptied all the water out. It was great fun.

    Reply
  2. From Sherrie:
    Loretta, I love baklava! My New Year’s Day tradition for many years was to jump off the bridge into Olalla Bay during the annual Polar Bear Jump. It’s a huge event here, with hundreds of jumpers and thousands of cheering onlookers. All the newspapers and TV crews show up, and many jumpers (myself included) wear funny costumes. The Olalla Polar Bear Jump is one of the oldest in the nation.
    I’ve retired from jumping now, but at my last jump a few years ago I made all the local newspapers and even TV. I jumped off the bridge dressed like an old woman–gaudy polyester dress, slip showing a mile below hem, rolled nylons, sturdy old lady shoes, a huge handbag, and a rubber mask of an ancient crone, complete with babushka.
    I clowned around in the water while the newspaper reporters took pictures. When I climbed out of the water, I turned my purse upside down and emptied all the water out. It was great fun.

    Reply
  3. From Sherrie:
    Loretta, I love baklava! My New Year’s Day tradition for many years was to jump off the bridge into Olalla Bay during the annual Polar Bear Jump. It’s a huge event here, with hundreds of jumpers and thousands of cheering onlookers. All the newspapers and TV crews show up, and many jumpers (myself included) wear funny costumes. The Olalla Polar Bear Jump is one of the oldest in the nation.
    I’ve retired from jumping now, but at my last jump a few years ago I made all the local newspapers and even TV. I jumped off the bridge dressed like an old woman–gaudy polyester dress, slip showing a mile below hem, rolled nylons, sturdy old lady shoes, a huge handbag, and a rubber mask of an ancient crone, complete with babushka.
    I clowned around in the water while the newspaper reporters took pictures. When I climbed out of the water, I turned my purse upside down and emptied all the water out. It was great fun.

    Reply
  4. From Sherrie:
    Loretta, I love baklava! My New Year’s Day tradition for many years was to jump off the bridge into Olalla Bay during the annual Polar Bear Jump. It’s a huge event here, with hundreds of jumpers and thousands of cheering onlookers. All the newspapers and TV crews show up, and many jumpers (myself included) wear funny costumes. The Olalla Polar Bear Jump is one of the oldest in the nation.
    I’ve retired from jumping now, but at my last jump a few years ago I made all the local newspapers and even TV. I jumped off the bridge dressed like an old woman–gaudy polyester dress, slip showing a mile below hem, rolled nylons, sturdy old lady shoes, a huge handbag, and a rubber mask of an ancient crone, complete with babushka.
    I clowned around in the water while the newspaper reporters took pictures. When I climbed out of the water, I turned my purse upside down and emptied all the water out. It was great fun.

    Reply
  5. Loretta –
    Over the holiday I finished reading the ginormous pile of your single-titles I had amassed over the last year. YOU ARE FABULOUS! I bow before your greatness! What a treat…I barely noticed my 8-hour layover in DC. The plane ride might not as well have occurred. I only wished I’d have taken the time to figure out what order they should be read in. Every time I thought I was starting a new series…I was wrong. Doh!
    But that hardly signifies. In any order, your characters come to life in ways I can’t even describe in layman’s terms. Dialogue is never going to be the same for me. Speaking of, where on Earth did you learn so many ways to say clodhead? You slay me with your witticisms 🙂
    I have a feeling those 10,000 calories on my rear aren’t going anywhere after that book-fest. Please don’t even mention dessert! 🙂

    Reply
  6. Loretta –
    Over the holiday I finished reading the ginormous pile of your single-titles I had amassed over the last year. YOU ARE FABULOUS! I bow before your greatness! What a treat…I barely noticed my 8-hour layover in DC. The plane ride might not as well have occurred. I only wished I’d have taken the time to figure out what order they should be read in. Every time I thought I was starting a new series…I was wrong. Doh!
    But that hardly signifies. In any order, your characters come to life in ways I can’t even describe in layman’s terms. Dialogue is never going to be the same for me. Speaking of, where on Earth did you learn so many ways to say clodhead? You slay me with your witticisms 🙂
    I have a feeling those 10,000 calories on my rear aren’t going anywhere after that book-fest. Please don’t even mention dessert! 🙂

    Reply
  7. Loretta –
    Over the holiday I finished reading the ginormous pile of your single-titles I had amassed over the last year. YOU ARE FABULOUS! I bow before your greatness! What a treat…I barely noticed my 8-hour layover in DC. The plane ride might not as well have occurred. I only wished I’d have taken the time to figure out what order they should be read in. Every time I thought I was starting a new series…I was wrong. Doh!
    But that hardly signifies. In any order, your characters come to life in ways I can’t even describe in layman’s terms. Dialogue is never going to be the same for me. Speaking of, where on Earth did you learn so many ways to say clodhead? You slay me with your witticisms 🙂
    I have a feeling those 10,000 calories on my rear aren’t going anywhere after that book-fest. Please don’t even mention dessert! 🙂

    Reply
  8. Loretta –
    Over the holiday I finished reading the ginormous pile of your single-titles I had amassed over the last year. YOU ARE FABULOUS! I bow before your greatness! What a treat…I barely noticed my 8-hour layover in DC. The plane ride might not as well have occurred. I only wished I’d have taken the time to figure out what order they should be read in. Every time I thought I was starting a new series…I was wrong. Doh!
    But that hardly signifies. In any order, your characters come to life in ways I can’t even describe in layman’s terms. Dialogue is never going to be the same for me. Speaking of, where on Earth did you learn so many ways to say clodhead? You slay me with your witticisms 🙂
    I have a feeling those 10,000 calories on my rear aren’t going anywhere after that book-fest. Please don’t even mention dessert! 🙂

    Reply
  9. We went to one daughter’s house for Christmas. She’s a gardener for several fabulous estates on an exclusive island in Maine, and one of her families sent her a box of Middle Eastern pastry. I must have eaten 25 pieces (but they were very small—no calories there, right?). I had no idea what I was eating, because it was beyond the familiar baklava, but yum! I tried to sneak the box home with me but was unsuccessful.
    We used to spend every New Year’s in Virginia with friends, who made and forced us to eat Hoppin’ John. Yuck is all I can say (give me some baklava!). Our only tradition now seems to be drinking champagne.I can live with that.

    Reply
  10. We went to one daughter’s house for Christmas. She’s a gardener for several fabulous estates on an exclusive island in Maine, and one of her families sent her a box of Middle Eastern pastry. I must have eaten 25 pieces (but they were very small—no calories there, right?). I had no idea what I was eating, because it was beyond the familiar baklava, but yum! I tried to sneak the box home with me but was unsuccessful.
    We used to spend every New Year’s in Virginia with friends, who made and forced us to eat Hoppin’ John. Yuck is all I can say (give me some baklava!). Our only tradition now seems to be drinking champagne.I can live with that.

    Reply
  11. We went to one daughter’s house for Christmas. She’s a gardener for several fabulous estates on an exclusive island in Maine, and one of her families sent her a box of Middle Eastern pastry. I must have eaten 25 pieces (but they were very small—no calories there, right?). I had no idea what I was eating, because it was beyond the familiar baklava, but yum! I tried to sneak the box home with me but was unsuccessful.
    We used to spend every New Year’s in Virginia with friends, who made and forced us to eat Hoppin’ John. Yuck is all I can say (give me some baklava!). Our only tradition now seems to be drinking champagne.I can live with that.

    Reply
  12. We went to one daughter’s house for Christmas. She’s a gardener for several fabulous estates on an exclusive island in Maine, and one of her families sent her a box of Middle Eastern pastry. I must have eaten 25 pieces (but they were very small—no calories there, right?). I had no idea what I was eating, because it was beyond the familiar baklava, but yum! I tried to sneak the box home with me but was unsuccessful.
    We used to spend every New Year’s in Virginia with friends, who made and forced us to eat Hoppin’ John. Yuck is all I can say (give me some baklava!). Our only tradition now seems to be drinking champagne.I can live with that.

    Reply
  13. Lacey, thank you! What a terrific way for me to start the New Year, with a happily swollen head. I’m delighted that the books made your trip pass swiftly and easily.
    Maggie, I’d love to know what the pastry was. I’ve been so fortunate to have friends of many ethnic backgrounds who’ve plied me with amazing sweets unknown in my family. But what a marvelous job your daughter has–in what I consider one of the most beautiful places on earth.
    Pat, I, too, would take the baklava any day. Though I must confess to having eaten haggis on more than one occasion and thinking it was not bad at all.

    Reply
  14. Lacey, thank you! What a terrific way for me to start the New Year, with a happily swollen head. I’m delighted that the books made your trip pass swiftly and easily.
    Maggie, I’d love to know what the pastry was. I’ve been so fortunate to have friends of many ethnic backgrounds who’ve plied me with amazing sweets unknown in my family. But what a marvelous job your daughter has–in what I consider one of the most beautiful places on earth.
    Pat, I, too, would take the baklava any day. Though I must confess to having eaten haggis on more than one occasion and thinking it was not bad at all.

    Reply
  15. Lacey, thank you! What a terrific way for me to start the New Year, with a happily swollen head. I’m delighted that the books made your trip pass swiftly and easily.
    Maggie, I’d love to know what the pastry was. I’ve been so fortunate to have friends of many ethnic backgrounds who’ve plied me with amazing sweets unknown in my family. But what a marvelous job your daughter has–in what I consider one of the most beautiful places on earth.
    Pat, I, too, would take the baklava any day. Though I must confess to having eaten haggis on more than one occasion and thinking it was not bad at all.

    Reply
  16. Lacey, thank you! What a terrific way for me to start the New Year, with a happily swollen head. I’m delighted that the books made your trip pass swiftly and easily.
    Maggie, I’d love to know what the pastry was. I’ve been so fortunate to have friends of many ethnic backgrounds who’ve plied me with amazing sweets unknown in my family. But what a marvelous job your daughter has–in what I consider one of the most beautiful places on earth.
    Pat, I, too, would take the baklava any day. Though I must confess to having eaten haggis on more than one occasion and thinking it was not bad at all.

    Reply
  17. Loretta, there were about 10 different varieties in all shapes and sizes(including baklava) from a bakery in Detroit—lots of pistachios (sp?), dates, honey—some had a nearly “flower” taste. They were unbelievably good.I could have happily eaten them all but I did show some restraint!

    Reply
  18. Loretta, there were about 10 different varieties in all shapes and sizes(including baklava) from a bakery in Detroit—lots of pistachios (sp?), dates, honey—some had a nearly “flower” taste. They were unbelievably good.I could have happily eaten them all but I did show some restraint!

    Reply
  19. Loretta, there were about 10 different varieties in all shapes and sizes(including baklava) from a bakery in Detroit—lots of pistachios (sp?), dates, honey—some had a nearly “flower” taste. They were unbelievably good.I could have happily eaten them all but I did show some restraint!

    Reply
  20. Loretta, there were about 10 different varieties in all shapes and sizes(including baklava) from a bakery in Detroit—lots of pistachios (sp?), dates, honey—some had a nearly “flower” taste. They were unbelievably good.I could have happily eaten them all but I did show some restraint!

    Reply
  21. Loretta, your family’s baklava tradition sounds delicious. I wish my own had something as tasty to share; alas, in my family, New Year’s Day is generally marked only by endless college bowl games on tv, puncuated by brisk walks to begin working off Christmas excess. Ugh.
    Honey and filo sounds MUCH better!

    Reply
  22. Loretta, your family’s baklava tradition sounds delicious. I wish my own had something as tasty to share; alas, in my family, New Year’s Day is generally marked only by endless college bowl games on tv, puncuated by brisk walks to begin working off Christmas excess. Ugh.
    Honey and filo sounds MUCH better!

    Reply
  23. Loretta, your family’s baklava tradition sounds delicious. I wish my own had something as tasty to share; alas, in my family, New Year’s Day is generally marked only by endless college bowl games on tv, puncuated by brisk walks to begin working off Christmas excess. Ugh.
    Honey and filo sounds MUCH better!

    Reply
  24. Loretta, your family’s baklava tradition sounds delicious. I wish my own had something as tasty to share; alas, in my family, New Year’s Day is generally marked only by endless college bowl games on tv, puncuated by brisk walks to begin working off Christmas excess. Ugh.
    Honey and filo sounds MUCH better!

    Reply

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