tastily touring: bosnian style baklava

Bosnian Style Baklava

It is time for another Tastily Touring post. I had a full post written when I opened the newspaper at the beginning of April and I saw an aerial photo of a street that looked as if it had been painted red. Reading further I learned that what made the main street of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, look red was not paint, but the 11,541 red chairs that were placed there to commemorate the Sarajevans that were killed in the longest siege in modern history.

The red chairs are a hard, cold visual reminder of the human cost of war. Of the 11,541 chairs, 1,600 were small ones, for children. More than 50,000 Sarajevans were wounded and over 100,000 people were killed throughout the country during the Bosnian War (April 1992-December 1995). The red chairs were placed on the main street through Sarajevo to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the conflict.

We have reached Bosnia and Herzegovina on our Tastily Touring adventure. It wasn’t my intention to bring this part of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s history to the forefront of the post, instead I wrote about its rich political, religious and cultural history. Nor was it my intention to write a personal post, but alas, I could not help but scrap the original text because the newspaper article made me recall some important memories.

I remembered the images of the Bosnian War on the nightly news and the heart breaking reports of the horrors of that war. My husband was deployed to Bosnia. It was our first separation and I will admit that I was not the stoic military wife I was told I should be, however, I learned and I grew from the experience. Most importantly I recalled a very touching personal moment I had with a family fleeing from the conflict through the help of a US agency.

I was traveling and I happened to be sitting on an airplane next to a family that was displaced from the Bosnian War. They had a small child. In some way we communicated. I noticed the child looking at my uneaten package of pretzels so I offered them to him. The father smiled and the mother “asked” if I had children by motioning to her child and my stomach. I replied that I did have one child (at that time) and she took her napkin and drew a face on it. I understood and I took out a photo of my eldest son. I felt quite guilty showing them a picture of my child smiling as he sat in the grass playing with his toys. The mother looked, nodded and smiled with both hope and sadness in her eyes. I immediately counted my blessings, vowing to (a) treasure every moment with my family and (b) refrain from griping over the little stuff. That family, in one short period of time, taught me one of the most valuable lessons of my life.

I cannot fit, in this post, the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina as I had written it. I can tell you that the country has a rich and diverse history. And I urge you to read more about its amazing history at History of Bosnia Herzegovina. For visual images of Bosnia and Herzegovina click here.

Author’s Note: It has come to my attention that it might be insensitive to include a recipe with a post that relays a story that is tragic. Food transcends all barriers; cultural, linguistic and political. Through food I share stories and information. Food brings us together as humans.

It is a major factor in all of life’s milestones, to include death. For many of us it is comforting, hence the term “comfort food”. myFudo is a food blog. I write about everything under the sun; history, personal stories, current events. Isn’t that what you do when you gather around your kitchen table? Do you not talk of everything and anything with your loved ones as you share a meal? I apologize if adding a recipe to a post may seem insensitive. It is not our intention. Instead we hope that you will embrace that we are a “kitchen table” complete with food and a diverse and varied conversation.

Baklava Bosnian-Style (Ridvana Perdue)

Ingredients

12 oz frozen phyllo dough
3 cups ground walnuts
3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
6 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons butter

Directions

Thaw the frozen phyllo dough.

Melt the butter in a small bowl.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place a set of four to six sheets of phyllo on the bottom of a 9″x13″ pan greased with additional butter.

Cut or fold the sheets of phyllo to fit. If they are thin or stick together, you can add a layer or two. Press the phyllo down a bit with your full hand.

On top of the phyllo dab butter until the surface is about half covered. Sprinkle on about 6 tablespoons of ground walnuts, then about 1 ½ tablespoons plain bread crumbs, making a thin layer over the phyllo.

Over the phyllo and filling add more layers of phyllo and filling, pressing down a bit with your hand after each layer of phyllo.

Finally add one more layer of phyllo on top.

Press down the last layer a bit more firmly. Next cut the uncooked baklava into pieces. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until it is a medium brown.

While the baklava finishes baking place the sugar with 4 cups of water into a saucepan and boil, stirring gently until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is a light yellow color.

While the baklava and syrup are both hot gently pour the syrup all over the baklava being sure to cover each piece. Allow to cool before serving.


Photography Data:
Featured Photographer
Mark Stout
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ExposureProgram: 1
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74 comments

  • April 17, 2012 at 9:57 am //

    I have actually had this, I had a Bosnian refugee family’s son in my elementary school class, and his mother was a fantastic baker :)

    • April 17, 2012 at 10:42 am //

      Lucky on the receiving end then! I didn’t know you were an Elementary School teacher, kudos to you, it takes a special person to teach children. Most of all, having patience!

  • April 17, 2012 at 9:57 am //

    I have actually had this, I had a Bosnian refugee family’s son in my elementary school class, and his mother was a fantastic baker :)

    • April 17, 2012 at 10:42 am //

      Lucky on the receiving end then! I didn’t know you were an Elementary School teacher, kudos to you, it takes a special person to teach children. Most of all, having patience!

  • April 17, 2012 at 10:15 am //

    It’s a tragic part of our shared history, and I love how your blog helps us to understand each other with your posts on food from different cultures. Very touching, great post!

    • April 17, 2012 at 10:55 am //

      Hi there, we are so happy you enjoying the posts, we hope to bring some type of awareness through food when there is a cultural divide. Thank you for your kind comment.

  • April 17, 2012 at 10:15 am //

    It’s a tragic part of our shared history, and I love how your blog helps us to understand each other with your posts on food from different cultures. Very touching, great post!

    • April 17, 2012 at 10:55 am //

      Hi there, we are so happy you enjoying the posts, we hope to bring some type of awareness through food when there is a cultural divide. Thank you for your kind comment.

  • April 17, 2012 at 11:04 am //

    wow, this looks amazing. i love baklava.. i’m always buying some from this lebenese place near me. another favorite is a kanaffe – so good!

    • April 18, 2012 at 8:43 am //

      Us too, love, love baklava. Growing up, I always thought it was Greek related dessert.

  • April 17, 2012 at 11:04 am //

    wow, this looks amazing. i love baklava.. i’m always buying some from this lebenese place near me. another favorite is a kanaffe – so good!

    • April 18, 2012 at 8:43 am //

      Us too, love, love baklava. Growing up, I always thought it was Greek related dessert.

    • April 18, 2012 at 8:43 am //

      Armenian Baklava sounds amazing, would you share the recipe with us?

    • April 18, 2012 at 8:43 am //

      Armenian Baklava sounds amazing, would you share the recipe with us?

  • April 17, 2012 at 12:01 pm //

    In my opinion, posting a recipe after your story is not the least bit insensitive. It’s a great recipe and represents the culture of the area, which despite the tragic history, maintaining the culture is important. Thank you for writing such a great post. The story of the chairs was quite interesting and I’ll be doing some more research on that. Also, the story in the airplane was touching – thanks for sharing that story and everything in the post!

    • April 18, 2012 at 8:49 am //

      Thank you for saying so, we got some bad press once for adding a recipe in with a personal story or cause, (it was slated that we were being insensitive) we thought we’d put that bit in there in case someone had an issue with it. “sigh”. For us, our readers are our friends sitting at the kitchen table with talking of everything and anything. = )

  • April 17, 2012 at 12:01 pm //

    In my opinion, posting a recipe after your story is not the least bit insensitive. It’s a great recipe and represents the culture of the area, which despite the tragic history, maintaining the culture is important. Thank you for writing such a great post. The story of the chairs was quite interesting and I’ll be doing some more research on that. Also, the story in the airplane was touching – thanks for sharing that story and everything in the post!

    • April 18, 2012 at 8:49 am //

      Thank you for saying so, we got some bad press once for adding a recipe in with a personal story or cause, (it was slated that we were being insensitive) we thought we’d put that bit in there in case someone had an issue with it. “sigh”. For us, our readers are our friends sitting at the kitchen table with talking of everything and anything. = )

  • April 18, 2012 at 3:22 am //

    I love baklava and this is so gorgeous. You have me craving it now!

  • April 18, 2012 at 3:22 am //

    I love baklava and this is so gorgeous. You have me craving it now!

  • April 18, 2012 at 4:37 am //

    The baklavas look terrific and so delicious! It’s on my to-do list but I doubt whether I could pull it off as gracefully as you have done.

    • April 18, 2012 at 8:51 am //

      That’s how we felt when we first started making “Macaron’s”, they were temperamental, but once you find a recipe that works for you, and oven temp (so often they are a bit off), it will be smooth sailing.

  • April 18, 2012 at 4:37 am //

    The baklavas look terrific and so delicious! It’s on my to-do list but I doubt whether I could pull it off as gracefully as you have done.

    • April 18, 2012 at 8:51 am //

      That’s how we felt when we first started making “Macaron’s”, they were temperamental, but once you find a recipe that works for you, and oven temp (so often they are a bit off), it will be smooth sailing.

  • April 18, 2012 at 6:34 am //

    How amazing to have met the family on the plane. And, I do think food is a part of all kinds of stories. Your baklava is beautiful, and I wish I could have a piece for a snack right now!

    • April 18, 2012 at 8:52 am //

      Thank you so much Lisa, it was a pleasure sharing this story.

  • April 18, 2012 at 6:34 am //

    How amazing to have met the family on the plane. And, I do think food is a part of all kinds of stories. Your baklava is beautiful, and I wish I could have a piece for a snack right now!

    • April 18, 2012 at 8:52 am //

      Thank you so much Lisa, it was a pleasure sharing this story.

  • April 18, 2012 at 10:21 am //

    I had no idea – I’ve never seen pictures of this before. My brother was in the Army then and was stationed abroad during the fighting. It took him a long time to be able to talk about it all. It is a powerful reminder of the cost of war.

  • April 18, 2012 at 10:21 am //

    I had no idea – I’ve never seen pictures of this before. My brother was in the Army then and was stationed abroad during the fighting. It took him a long time to be able to talk about it all. It is a powerful reminder of the cost of war.

  • April 18, 2012 at 11:13 am //

    This looks incredible. I love baklava but it is so hard to find a nice one. Especially when I want one with my coffee! I will be making this ASAP!

  • April 18, 2012 at 11:13 am //

    This looks incredible. I love baklava but it is so hard to find a nice one. Especially when I want one with my coffee! I will be making this ASAP!

  • April 18, 2012 at 11:17 am //

    Facinating post! I very much enjoyed your story. And I had no idea baklava was a tradition in Bosnian culture.

  • April 18, 2012 at 11:17 am //

    Facinating post! I very much enjoyed your story. And I had no idea baklava was a tradition in Bosnian culture.

  • April 18, 2012 at 1:37 pm //

    A very touching post. I am shocked that someone objected to bringing in the larger story. Isn’t that part of why we cook….to remember, to feel?

    It’s funny, I was just writing about the first time I tasted another iconic food of the Balkans, cevapcici. It was in Mostar, another multi-ethnic Bosnian city that was under seige during the Balkan wars. That same day, I read about the commemoration of the siege of Sarajevo. So tragic, to remember those times.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

    • April 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm //

      It sure is Blair, thank you for pointing that out. It was our Coffee Macaron Post, the person who objected found it insensitive of us, and while no political or aid is flawless, we were just talking about an issue that we were reading about, or which was brought to our attention, like a roundtable of friends discussing and having tea over dessert.

      Thank you for commenting Blair, I’ve never tried Cevapcici, would you share the recipe with us?

      • April 18, 2012 at 10:18 pm //

        I’m happy to share more about cevapcici. Thanks for asking!

        It is a simple food: a mixture of seasoned ground meats, rolled into little sausage shapes, and then grilled. Traditionally, it is served in pita or other flatbread, along with raw onions, a red pepper relish called ajvar, and thickened yogurt.

        In my first attempt, I used a lamb and pork mix, lightly seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne, and paprika. The second time, I used lamb and beef with heavier seasonings. I also tried the “lightening” trick some cooks suggest: either seltzer or baking soda.

        The exact proportions aren’t critical. It’s more in the approach and the presentation. That’s the beauty of the dish.

        I have written in more detail about the first version I tried, for anyone who is interested. It’s here, in my Slovenian roots cooking blog:

        http://slovenianroots.blogspot.com/2012/04/slovenian-dinner-week-9-memories-of.html

        Thanks for writing a blog with so much heart and soul, along with great recipes!

        Blair in CA

        • April 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm //

          Thank you so much for replying back Blair, we are so intrigued about this dish, I am on my way over to read more about it, it sure sounds delicious with the lamb and all the spices.

  • April 18, 2012 at 1:37 pm //

    A very touching post. I am shocked that someone objected to bringing in the larger story. Isn’t that part of why we cook….to remember, to feel?

    It’s funny, I was just writing about the first time I tasted another iconic food of the Balkans, cevapcici. It was in Mostar, another multi-ethnic Bosnian city that was under seige during the Balkan wars. That same day, I read about the commemoration of the siege of Sarajevo. So tragic, to remember those times.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

    • April 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm //

      It sure is Blair, thank you for pointing that out. It was our Coffee Macaron Post, the person who objected found it insensitive of us, and while no political or aid is flawless, we were just talking about an issue that we were reading about, or which was brought to our attention, like a roundtable of friends discussing and having tea over dessert.

      Thank you for commenting Blair, I’ve never tried Cevapcici, would you share the recipe with us?

      • April 18, 2012 at 10:18 pm //

        I’m happy to share more about cevapcici. Thanks for asking!

        It is a simple food: a mixture of seasoned ground meats, rolled into little sausage shapes, and then grilled. Traditionally, it is served in pita or other flatbread, along with raw onions, a red pepper relish called ajvar, and thickened yogurt.

        In my first attempt, I used a lamb and pork mix, lightly seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne, and paprika. The second time, I used lamb and beef with heavier seasonings. I also tried the “lightening” trick some cooks suggest: either seltzer or baking soda.

        The exact proportions aren’t critical. It’s more in the approach and the presentation. That’s the beauty of the dish.

        I have written in more detail about the first version I tried, for anyone who is interested. It’s here, in my Slovenian roots cooking blog:

        http://slovenianroots.blogspot.com/2012/04/slovenian-dinner-week-9-memories-of.html

        Thanks for writing a blog with so much heart and soul, along with great recipes!

        Blair in CA

        • April 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm //

          Thank you so much for replying back Blair, we are so intrigued about this dish, I am on my way over to read more about it, it sure sounds delicious with the lamb and all the spices.

  • April 18, 2012 at 8:32 pm //

    Beautifully written post – thank you for sharing your story and for reminding us of the tragedy that war brings. I commend you for bringing up a serious but important topic.

    • April 20, 2012 at 1:05 pm //

      Thank you Jeanette, we really enjoy talking about our personal stories with a foodie roundtable amongst friends.

  • April 18, 2012 at 8:32 pm //

    Beautifully written post – thank you for sharing your story and for reminding us of the tragedy that war brings. I commend you for bringing up a serious but important topic.

    • April 20, 2012 at 1:05 pm //

      Thank you Jeanette, we really enjoy talking about our personal stories with a foodie roundtable amongst friends.

  • April 18, 2012 at 9:20 pm //

    I actually think it’s quite fitting to post a recipe after a post like this. So often we show our appreciation and love and compassion through food, so why not here in this context also? Beautiful post!

  • April 18, 2012 at 9:20 pm //

    I actually think it’s quite fitting to post a recipe after a post like this. So often we show our appreciation and love and compassion through food, so why not here in this context also? Beautiful post!

  • April 19, 2012 at 12:26 am //

    Great post – you’ve included some really important history there, history we shouldn’t forget. And how could it be insensitive to couple this with a recipe? I know whenever I’ll eat baklava now, I’ll always think of this post, at least for a moment. And speaking of the baklava, nice recipe! I’ve never made it before, although I’ve eaten tons of the stuff. I’ll have to give it a try sometime, and the sugar topping is a nice change from the honey (though I do love the honey). Good job as always – thanks.

    • April 19, 2012 at 8:35 am //

      Thank you so much for the support, it truly is such a wonderful feeling. We received some bad press for our Macaron post, which surrounded around a topic that were were reading about, listening, hearing about all over.

      This blog is like a roundtable of friends, discussing everything under the sun over wine or tea and dessert. We try to treat it as if we were talking to our friends, our readers have become a roundtable of friends. We responded back to the person, but we stood our ground, we really weren’t trying to be insensitive, the person didn’t believe in the cause, and I know there will be strong disagreements in subjects we discuss, it’s important to discuss our differences, but that doesn’t mean we are insensitive. Any fund, aid, political campaign is not without its flaws, but if you muddle through it all, you can see the cause come into some light.

      For the baklava, for years and years we thought it was a greek dessert, we were pleasantly surprised to find out it’s served in many cultures. It was a bit intimidating to test the recipe out, but so worth it. You can make the sheets homemade ahead of time and freeze them. There are some good brands out there for the frozen sheets.

      Enojy = )

  • April 19, 2012 at 12:26 am //

    Great post – you’ve included some really important history there, history we shouldn’t forget. And how could it be insensitive to couple this with a recipe? I know whenever I’ll eat baklava now, I’ll always think of this post, at least for a moment. And speaking of the baklava, nice recipe! I’ve never made it before, although I’ve eaten tons of the stuff. I’ll have to give it a try sometime, and the sugar topping is a nice change from the honey (though I do love the honey). Good job as always – thanks.

    • April 19, 2012 at 8:35 am //

      Thank you so much for the support, it truly is such a wonderful feeling. We received some bad press for our Macaron post, which surrounded around a topic that were were reading about, listening, hearing about all over.

      This blog is like a roundtable of friends, discussing everything under the sun over wine or tea and dessert. We try to treat it as if we were talking to our friends, our readers have become a roundtable of friends. We responded back to the person, but we stood our ground, we really weren’t trying to be insensitive, the person didn’t believe in the cause, and I know there will be strong disagreements in subjects we discuss, it’s important to discuss our differences, but that doesn’t mean we are insensitive. Any fund, aid, political campaign is not without its flaws, but if you muddle through it all, you can see the cause come into some light.

      For the baklava, for years and years we thought it was a greek dessert, we were pleasantly surprised to find out it’s served in many cultures. It was a bit intimidating to test the recipe out, but so worth it. You can make the sheets homemade ahead of time and freeze them. There are some good brands out there for the frozen sheets.

      Enojy = )

  • April 19, 2012 at 8:53 am //

    This baklava sounds amazing! I am sure it is much better than anything that could be bought in the store :)!

    • April 19, 2012 at 1:56 pm //

      Thank you so much Amy!

  • April 19, 2012 at 8:53 am //

    This baklava sounds amazing! I am sure it is much better than anything that could be bought in the store :)!

    • April 19, 2012 at 1:56 pm //

      Thank you so much Amy!

  • April 19, 2012 at 2:37 pm //

    Hello,
    just found your blog through food gawker…I am from Bosnia living here in St. Louis, Mo. My mother makes baklava often and her recipe does not include the bread crumbs, but she does a mixture of walnuts and hazelnuts. In the simple syrup that she makes to pour over the baklava she adds some lemon juice to it. Also she occasionally makes her own phyllo dough and it tastes so much better than the store bought. I’m glad i found your blog and i’ll be stopping by whenever i get a chance.
    I

    • April 20, 2012 at 1:04 pm //

      Hi Sadina:

      That sounds like a wonderful alternative as well, do share your recipe with us sometime, we’d love to give it a try. Lemon Juice added to the simple syrup I bet gives it that acidity it may need.

  • April 19, 2012 at 2:37 pm //

    Hello,
    just found your blog through food gawker…I am from Bosnia living here in St. Louis, Mo. My mother makes baklava often and her recipe does not include the bread crumbs, but she does a mixture of walnuts and hazelnuts. In the simple syrup that she makes to pour over the baklava she adds some lemon juice to it. Also she occasionally makes her own phyllo dough and it tastes so much better than the store bought. I’m glad i found your blog and i’ll be stopping by whenever i get a chance.
    I

    • April 20, 2012 at 1:04 pm //

      Hi Sadina:

      That sounds like a wonderful alternative as well, do share your recipe with us sometime, we’d love to give it a try. Lemon Juice added to the simple syrup I bet gives it that acidity it may need.

  • April 20, 2012 at 11:57 am //

    Wow, your baklava looks wonderful
    Acually, baklava is of Turkish origin. Whole Balkan peninsula was under Ottoman rule for five hundred years. So many popular dishes in Bosnia and Serbia are actually a legacy of their presence – consider turkish coffee, baklava,sarma, burek…

    • April 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm //

      We were pleasantly surprised to find out it wasn’t just a Greek Dessert, totally amazed at how many cultures share the same desserts. Thank you so much for commenting.

  • April 20, 2012 at 11:57 am //

    Wow, your baklava looks wonderful
    Acually, baklava is of Turkish origin. Whole Balkan peninsula was under Ottoman rule for five hundred years. So many popular dishes in Bosnia and Serbia are actually a legacy of their presence – consider turkish coffee, baklava,sarma, burek…

    • April 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm //

      We were pleasantly surprised to find out it wasn’t just a Greek Dessert, totally amazed at how many cultures share the same desserts. Thank you so much for commenting.

  • April 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm //

    phyllo dough are such delicate stuff.. i am so scared to handle it :) this looks super yum and love the sharpness in the photo

    • April 21, 2012 at 3:50 pm //

      That is so true Kankan, but you know what? What we do is make it just a few times a year, and freeze, since we tend to use it for other desserts, we should post our recipe, and some tips on how to freeze it and keep the sheets fresh, at first it can seem daunting, but like macaron’s the soon become second nature (after you’ve made them a zillion times) “wink”. Still there are some fab brands out there that sell the sheets which are just as good.

  • April 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm //

    phyllo dough are such delicate stuff.. i am so scared to handle it :) this looks super yum and love the sharpness in the photo

    • April 21, 2012 at 3:50 pm //

      That is so true Kankan, but you know what? What we do is make it just a few times a year, and freeze, since we tend to use it for other desserts, we should post our recipe, and some tips on how to freeze it and keep the sheets fresh, at first it can seem daunting, but like macaron’s the soon become second nature (after you’ve made them a zillion times) “wink”. Still there are some fab brands out there that sell the sheets which are just as good.

  • April 20, 2012 at 2:08 pm //

    You had me at baklava – I’m a sucker for this dessert and this preparation is amazingly decadent. The layers are phyllo are positively oozing goodness! I am featuring this post in today’s Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), but please let me know if you have any objections. I’m new to your blog, but it’s a pleasure to be following your creations…

    • April 20, 2012 at 2:46 pm //

      Hi Javelin, no objections at all, thank you for thinking of us, and featuring us, please let us know when it’s up = )

  • April 20, 2012 at 2:08 pm //

    You had me at baklava – I’m a sucker for this dessert and this preparation is amazingly decadent. The layers are phyllo are positively oozing goodness! I am featuring this post in today’s Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), but please let me know if you have any objections. I’m new to your blog, but it’s a pleasure to be following your creations…

    • April 20, 2012 at 2:46 pm //

      Hi Javelin, no objections at all, thank you for thinking of us, and featuring us, please let us know when it’s up = )