Sunday, July 1, 2012

Pistachio Baklava Tartlets

Recipe modified by You Want Me to Cook? – April 26, 2011
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Pistachio Baklava Tartlets recipe originally published by Food Network – April 2012.

I love baklava, but do not have the patience to make it.  I keep thinking about the sticky mess the honey/sugar syrup is going to leave in my kitchen.  I’d rather spend the time looking for a baker that makes a good one than scrubbing my kitchen.

Yet when I saw this recipe, I was excited to try it!  It isn’t baklava, but it’s got all the same flavors and gets it close enough.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Pistachio Baklava Tartlets
I may have overcooked my tartlets a little but they still look pretty good.  As good as Food Networks…

© Food Network
...nope, although I don’t think that’s all my fault.  First of all, those don’t look like chopped pistachios.  Okay, I’d give it barely chopped but that’s about it.  I think that’s why you can’t really see my chocolate – and I had to use a lot – against the honey mixture.

These look delicious where mine looked like something you might try if you didn’t find anything better on the dessert table.

for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessSIGH – I had to shell the pistachios myself because I couldn’t find them chopped.  While it doesn’t seem like it would be messy, it was.   There was a lot of gooey equipment that had to be cleaned and the gooeyness seemed to spread to my cabinets.

Start-to-Finish Time: AROUND 30 MINUTES – Since you’re using the convenience of pre-made tartlets, it isn’t going to take you as long as you may think.  I probably could have shaved 10 minutes off that time had I found pre-shelled and pre-chopped pistachios.  Essentially this could be something to quickly whip up for dessert if you don’t have anything planned.  Of course, the real question is “would you have these ingredients necessarily on hand?”

Prep Work: SLIGHT BLOOD LOSS – I never go without grating my own finger when I’m getting lemon zest.  Maybe one day someone will teach me how NOT to do this.  For now, I just have scraped knuckles.

Ease of Recipe: THE BASICS – You don’t have to make any dough or form tartlets.  Even the filling doesn’t require boiling simple syrup.  Just don’t touch the filling!  For the love of Pete… don’t touch it!

OverallNOT BAD – At first I would have given this a YUMMY rating, but these little devils turn into rock.  You almost break your teeth biting into it and then it gets stuck in your teeth worse than a Bit-o-Honey.  P.S.  I don’t think they make Bit-O-Honey anymore.  At least it isn’t on Nestle’s website.

Recipe Information:
I am not a doctor or dietician.  I make my nutritional assessments with the aid of Spark Recipes.  I run the original recipe and my altered recipe through their calorie counter and then compute the differences I find.  My numbers are to be used as a guideline.  Anyone who is under dietary medical supervision should follow the advice of their medical professional if their opinion differs from mine.  PLEASE!

Servings: not specified
Total Time: 25 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

There isn’t much detail about this recipe except how much time it is supposed to take you to make it.  I’m going to gather that a serving is a single tartlet, although that is a pretty small piece.  It took me a little longer to make this recipe than the 25 minutes specified.  Not much longer though.  Here’s how my timing worked out:
  • Prep: 13 minutes
  • Hands-on Time: 23 minutes (some done during bake time)
  • Cooking Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 33 minutes
I started making the filling before the shells were completely golden.  Whether or not you do this is up to you, but keep in mind that once it is done, it won’t take very long before it starts to set and get hard.

Nutritional Information:
None given

I was actually surprised that Food Network didn’t give me any nutritional information.  It worried me a little because a lot of recipes that do this are hiding something.  So, I computed the nutritional information using my ingredients and here’s what came out:
  • Calories 88.6
  • Total Fat 5.1 g
  • Saturated Fat 2.6 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 1.3 g
  • Cholesterol 10.4 mg
  • Sodium 23.8 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 11.7 g
  • Dietary Fiber 0.2 g
  • Sugars 9.1 g
  • Protein 0.8 g
At first glance, my thought was that these numbers aren’t all that awful.  Then I started to reflect on how small of a tartlet this actually was.  If you like it, chances are you’re going to eat more than one.  If you eat only two (and that still is a pretty small amount) you’ll be consuming 18g of sugar.

Changes denoted by red text

© You Want Me to Cook?
Pistachio Baklava Tartlets - ingredients
5 tablespoons butter, unsalted and divided
15 mini phyllo shells
1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon allspice
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons grated chocolate
Fit Wash

Ingredient Notes:
Butter – The recipe doesn’t specify whether to use salted or unsalted.  I went with unsalted since that is typically used in baking.

Mini-Phyllo Shells – you’ll find these in the freezer section with frozen desserts and pie crusts.

Pistachios – I couldn’t find any shelled, so I bought in-shell and had to crack them open.  That is one of the reasons I had 13 minutes worth of prep time.  To figure out how many to open, I scooped out a heaping 1/4 cup.

Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest – It was less than half of a small lemon.  Make sure you zest the lemon first before squeezing it for the juice.  It’s just a lot easier that way.

  • There wasn’t a specific amount of chocolate so I grated a tablespoon at a time and ended up with 2 tablespoons.
  • They also didn’t specify a type of chocolate to use.  I went with the most common baking chocolate – semi-sweet.
Fit Wash – Since you’re going to be using the peel and juicing a lemon (where you can cross-contaminate the juice with the peel), you’re going to want to give it a good cleansing.  For thick peel fruits, I tend to use a vegetable brush, but I also will use my Fit Wash since it always seems less waxy after I’ve cleaned it.

Equipment Needed:

© You Want Me to Cook?
Pistachio Baklava Tartlets - equipment
Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Large Spoon
Baking Sheet
Pastry Brush

Equipment Notes:
Mini-Chop – This isn’t a necessity, but is one of the easiest ways to chop pistachios.

Cutting Board, Sharp Knife and Juicer – You can buy lemon juice in a jar, but the best tasting juice will be from a fresh lemon.


(1)  Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small bowl.
The recipe originally has you melting all of the butter in a skillet and then measuring out a tablespoon to brush on the mini-phyllo shells.  It was much easier to melt a single tablespoon to brush over the shells so I knew I wasn’t using more of the butter than necessary.
(2)  Place mini-phyllo shells on a baking sheet and brush with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter.

(3)  Melt the rest of the butter in a skillet over medium heat.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Pistachio Baklava Tartlets - baked shells
(4)  Bake at 350-degrees F until just golden, 10 minutes.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Pistachio Baklava Tartlets - filling
(5)  Meanwhile, add chopped pistachios, honey, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, allspice and salt to the butter in the skillet; cook, stirring until thick, 5 minutes.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Pistachio Baklava Tartlets - filled before chocolate
(6)  Divide among the shells and sprinkle with grated chocolate. Let cool.

These tasted good, but they cooled like little bricks and were hard to chew.  They weren’t super sweet and you could really taste the allspice in them.  I’m still unsure how I feel about them.  They weren’t bad, but they weren’t great either.  My husband ate most of them over a course of a week.  Since I usually can’t keep sweets in the house for more than a couple days, I figure they weren’t his most favorite things I’ve made.

I’m honestly not sure what I’d change to make these better, but here’s where I’d start:
  • I probably wouldn’t use all the allspice since it kind of overpowered the tartlets.
  • I wouldn’t chop the nuts as fine as I did.  Probably a couple of pulses in the mini-chopper tops.
  • I would look for larger tartlets to see if they didn’t cool as hard.  Someone in the comments of the recipe mentioned that they couldn’t find the mini shells, so they used phyllo dough and cut them out with a round cutter to fit into a mini-tart pan.  I could always do the same with a regular muffin pan.
I really hope someone tries making these and lets me know what they think.  Until next time… happy baking!!!

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