Thursday, July 21, 2011


In America, churches are abundant. In the south, where I grew up, there seems to be a church on every corner. Before moving to Italy, I wondered what type of church we would find. I was very surprised and relieved to find a thriving protestant chapel community on base.  I grew up Southern Baptist and have always attended SB churches. The chapel is definitely different than any church I have ever attended.

Military chaplains are required to serve all denominations including Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, even Wiccans, and many more. They do not have to officiate services for religions that they don't agree with, but must offer resources if requested. Our chapel has Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Church of Christ services. We attend the Sunday morning protestant service, and I have truly enjoyed the opportunity to worship and serve alongside other Christians of all protestant denominations. We all desire to serve the Lord of creation, and although we have some different beliefs we can still worship our Lord in unity. In my opinion, as long as we agree on biblical salvation, most other issues are not worth dividing over.

You may be wondering what this has to do with Baklava. I am getting there. We truly appreciate the opportunity to attend services at the base chapel and be involved in ministry there, but we miss participating in a small group like a community group or Sunday School. So a few of our friends have gotten together and started a small community group. We meet weekly and watch sermons by Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. He is a young, jean wearing, no holds barred preacher that teaches biblical truth. He isn't concerned with being politically correct or watering down scripture for the fear of offending anyone. He preaches about the depravity of the human soul and how we are all in desperate need of Jesus, but also preaches about the love and grace of God. He is very engaging, and we are really enjoying his messages. Even my 15 year old son enjoys listening to him. You can listen or watch his sermons at .

Ok, now to the Baklava. Each week at small group we have a themed potluck meal. Since most of the restaurants here in Italy only serve Italian food it is nice to occasionally enjoy other types of cuisine. A couple of weeks ago the theme was Greek. My husband suggested that I attempt to make Baklava which is a sweet pastry type dessert filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with a honey syrup. I was first introduced to Baklava when my son's teacher made it for a class party last year. I happened to have a recipe that a lady in my bible study emailed me a few months ago so decided to give it a try. It really wasn't difficult at all. Phyllo dough makes up the flaky crust and is a cinch to use. It is a really simple recipe and super yummy.

Kale Orexi!!

Makes 32 pieces

12 oz. pistachios, walnuts, or almonds
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 16-oz. pkg. phyllo dough, thawed
10 oz. (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

Honey Syrup
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup honey
Zest of 1 lemon, removed with vegetable peeler

To make Baklava:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread nuts on baking sheet, and toast in oven 6 minutes. Cool.

2. Pulse nuts, sugar, and cinnamon in food processor 8 to 10 times, or until finely chopped. Set aside. (I don't have a food processor, but I used a cuisinart electric chopper and it worked just fine)

3. Brush 13- x 9-inch metal baking pan with butter. (I used a pottery type casserole dish and it seemed to work well)
• Line with 2 phyllo sheets; brush phyllo with butter.

• Repeat 4 more times, or until you have 5 layers of 2 phyllo sheets each (10 sheets total).
• Sprinkle with one-third of nut mixture.

• Top with 2 phyllo sheets, brush with butter, and repeat phyllo layering 2 more times (6 sheets total).
• Sprinkle with one-third of nut mixture. Top with 2 phyllo sheets, brush with butter, and repeat phyllo layering 2 more times (6 sheets total).
• Sprinkle with remaining one-third of nut mixture. Top with 2 phyllo sheets, brush with butter, and repeat phyllo layering 2 more times (6 sheets total).
• Lay 1 phyllo sheet on top, brush with butter, then lay last phyllo sheet on top, and brush with butter.
• Chill 10 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut Baklava into 16 squares with knife. Cut each square into 2 triangles or for larger dessert-size serving, leave in squares.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

To make Honey Syrup:

5. Combine sugar, honey, lemon zest, and 1 cup water in small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Remove lemon zest, and pour syrup over hot Baklava. Cool on wire rack.

6. To serve: recut triangles or squares with knife, and remove from pan. Store covered at room temperature.

1 comment:

  1. We eat Baklava a lot at our church. It's amazing!