So I was excited that Safeway had a big tray of baklava. Oh boy, never tried that stuff before and always wanted to. I think I’ll get some!
Whoa…hey now, 16 bucks? That’s a little steep. Ah well, I’d heard it was expensive, so it’s not like I was unprepared for that price. So, I buy the tray.
I get home, unwrap it, eagerly try one…
…and it sucks.
What am I missing here? Obviously something. Surely these have to be secretly more what they seem (which is basically little, hard (almost stale-like) pastries). They can’t just be these mini, gooey, croissant-like things that taste like cardboard (a little)? Because if that’s all they are, consider that the most uneventful, underwhelming, and anti-climatic experience of my life (at least when it comes to new foods, heh).
Maybe I just got a bad batch?
I wouldn’t care so much if it hadn’t had the sixteen dollar price tag. Now I have a (fairly) big tray of baklava and no idea what to do with it. I suppose I’ll eat it over the next few days; it doesn’t taste horrible, after all…just…not great/good either. Oh, and did I mention they’re hard-ish?
I think the issue is that it was Safeway Baklava, which probably has as much to do with real Baklava as Safeway Bagels have to real bagels. Chain grocery stores are not the place to get ethnic food.
Go find a good Greek or Middle Eastern restaurant or bakery to buy Baklava at, and you’ll get what you’re looking for. It should not be anywhere near stale - it should be yummy nut gooeyness covered in honey, wrapped in paper-thin phyllo, and covered with even more honey. Yum yum yum. It should be so rich that more than a few bites makes your teeth hurt.
I think the first likely had something to do with the second. Good baklava shouldn’t be hard. Might be a little denser at the lower levels, but not actually hard.
Good baklava made fresh with high-quality honey and pistachios rat is pretty sublime in my opinion. However you have to like b) flaky filo dough, b) very sweet, gooey honey and c) nuts, preferably pistachios. At least in the standard version.
Not to come off all snobby and foody ( believe me I eat my share of packaged and canned crap, especially at work ), but IMHO the Safeway bakery is an awful place to get most kinds of pastry. I’ve tried them many times over the years and usually been disappointed. But then I also live in an area where good restaurant-quality baklava is just a ten minute drive from my house.
I’ve never liked storebought baklava. Too sticky and the honey soaks into the dough and you’re never quite sure if you got the paper backing off all the way because it’s all the same consistency. Now, when my greek godmother makes baklava, that’s some good eating. Still don’t want more than a piece or two at any one sitting but the experience is much more flavorful.
Oh, I thought it was your first time making the stuff. I’ve made it for years now and though I was a wreck the first few times, now I can run up a batch in an evening as easy as making a box cake. Sorry your store-bought isn’t good. Maybe you could give it away to people? Put little pieces in cupcake papers and bring it in to work or something?
Can you return the uneaten portion? It may seem a little weird to return food to a grocery store, but people do it all the time*, and if something is very expensive and not very good you shouldn’t have to pay for it. It sounds like you got some crappy baklava there.
To be fair, there is such a thing as good store-bought baklava. One of the grad students is Turkish, and brings back a few boxes every time he goes home to visit. Of course, that’s bought from a Turkish store, and he probably pays an arm and a leg for it. But it’s possible.
As has been said, fresh is best but there are was of getting the best out of what you have.
I’d warm it up first (microwave for a very short burst) that softens it slightly.
And serve it with a very sharp and thick Greek/Turkish style yogurt. (no…no…no sugar in the yogurt at all) or something like a creme fraiche/framage frais.
Just a little dab on top is perfect to offset the sweetness.