Chattanooga has gained notoriety in recent years for its growing ethnic food scene and for good reason. Restaurants representing far-flung corners of the globe are wowing diners with their quality ingredients and expert flavor combinations. While these establishments are dishing up their fair share of show-stopping mains, those with a sweet tooth fret not! Here, we highlight worldly desserts from some of the city’s top cultural eateries.
“Baklava is the most famous tradional Greek dessert and is found all over the Mediterranean. It has a nice balance of sweetness and citrus with the earthy flavor of cinnamon, and it pairs great with coffee or hot tea.”
1lb.pecans, walnuts, or pistachios, finely chopped
2sticks butter, melted
Start the syrup by combining sugar, honey, lemon juice, water, orange peel, and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Reduce heat, boil for an additional 5 minutes without stirring, and then remove from heat and let syrup cool while preparing baklava.
To make baklava, preheat oven to 325˚. In a medium bowl, mix nuts, cinnamon, and sugar. Place 8 phyllo sheets in a 12x12-inch baking pan 1 by 1, making sure to brush every other sheet with melted butter. Spread 1/5 of the nut mixture over phyllo dough, and then add 6 more buttered sheets of phyllo followed by another layer of the nut mixture.
Repeat the process 4 more times, finishing off with 10 layers of buttered phyllo sheets. Brush the very top with another layer of butter.
Score pastry in 1½-inch strips, and then cut diagonally to form diamond shapes. Bake for 75 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven, and immediately pour syrup over the hot baklava. Let the dish cool uncovered until it reaches room temperature. Serve, and store leftovers in an airtight container on the countertop or in a pantry.
Note: Keep phyllo sheets covered with a damp towel when not using them.