tastily touring: 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)
12 oz frozen phyllo dough
3 cups ground walnuts
3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
6 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons butter
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.
Make: NIKON CORPORATION
Model: NIKON D200