1/19/2022 - Country #9 - Albania

Updated: Apr 18

Albania had the baklava, y'all - baklava is a dessert that I've wanted to make for the longest time. Here was my chance, my excuse to make a decadent sticky dessert - and honey, was it GOOD.

Growing up eating Italian food and having an Italian grandmother, I have a natural inclination to foods from the Mediterranean. Meatballs and baklava - how more Mediterranean could you get??? I found the ideas from these websites: https://theculturetrip.com/europe/albania/articles/11-delicious-food-to-try-in-albania/ and https://www.swedishnomad.com/albanian-food/. Albanian qofte (meatballs, obvs) and baklava (layers of thin pastry dough alternated with melted butter and cinnamon with pulsed walnuts and covered in honey syrup). I got my recipes here: https://foreignfork.com/qofte/#recipe and https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/20287/easy-baklava/?utm_source=pinterest.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=social-share-recipe&utm_content=20210406&utm_term=20287.


The meatballs were mixed, shaped, and then baked. A simple sauce was made of plain yogurt and garlic. It was the simplest main dish recipe so far - so easy.



I had so much fun making the baklava. I am terribly with directions involving ... directions, so I cut the phyllo dough in the wrong direction. Everything fit into the pan at the end of the day and came out to look like it was supposed to, so I was happy with it.



Here is some assembly. Phyllo, butter, nuts and cinnamon - repeat several times.



See, like, it should've been cut the other way...oh well.



Boiled up some honey simple syrup. The pastry itself doesn't have any sugar in it, so all the sweetness comes from the syrup. It doused the pastry the moment it came piping hot and golden outta the oven.


MONEYSHOTS TIME!!!



Brown food is my favorite.


The qofte was good. Mild, despite the chunks of feta cheese. The yogurt tasted exactly like plain yogurt mixed with garlic (a LOT of garlic. Garlic and vanilla are the two ingredients I measure with my heart in recipes). Browned and juicy and savory - yum.


DUDE.


THIS BAKLAVA.


To quote Carla Hall when she tastes something amazing, "DUDE."


I think this may be one of the best things I've ever made.


Like...


Why have I not had baklava before.


It is just...so sticky sweet and flaky and the nuts add texture and structure and it crumbles and it was decadent and fun and crispy and just...I love this baklava so much. I will eat this baklava here and there, I will eat it anywhere.


Country stats:


Day made: 1/19/2022, Wednesday


Post made: 1/22/2022, Saturday


Would I make it again? 9/10, maybe the qofte, but this baklava is about to be added to my list of signatures dishes like DANG.



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