Saturday, January 8, 2011

Baklava Blizzard at Work!

The first week back to work from the holidays was sweetened with Middle Eastern treats.  It was as if the office had had some kind of storm while we were away of phyllo and pistachio sweets.  We had boxes and plates of this stuff around, provided by visitors to our department.  I'd not predicted such a sweet forecast upon returning to work!

Ossmalleya with pistachio

Crazy about Middle Eastern food (eg I am a baba ghanoush and hummus addict), I jumped on the photo and tasting opportunities...

Ballourie with crushed pistachio

These gorgeous treats came from two sources: Shatila, a bakery in Dearborn, Michigan, anAbdul Rahman Hallab & Sons, a bakery in Lebanon (bottom half of post, pictured with paper).


These photos are closeups making the sweets look bigger than they are. They are, on average about an inch-and-a-half around, I'd say. 

Burrma with a different kind of nut center.

The package from Shatila contained a small bag of minced pistachio, which--it is a shame--sat in the corner of the box unused.  You are supposed to sprinkle that on top of the treats.  Ignorant, and guilty as charged.  The bit of green would have looked lovely atop Mini Roses, below:

"Mini Roses"

Many of them contain nuts, and have a distinct butter flavor.  As a munch-bound co-worker pointed out, even in these bite-sized pieces, you can totally taste the butter.  Many of the sweets are also flavored delicately with rosewater.   


"Finger" was one of my favorites.  Layers of delicate Phyllo lightly sweetened with syrup.  It's like baklava, but not as dense or heavy. (Yes, I am on a sugar high, but I am consciously changing up the spellings of these desserts to reflect the regions they came from.)

Abdul Rahman Hallab & Sons' Barma (Lebanese version)
The pistachio barma from Abdul Rahman Hallab had chunks of pistachio in it, and had a toasted, crispy outside.  The pastry seemed held together by a honey goo.  But it was hardly sweet at all. 

Barma, another variety.
This nuts in this barma I think were almonds (slivered).  This one too was hardly sweet.
What's light as a feather, oily to the touch, and super flaky?


Baklawa from Abdul Rahman Hallab was my favorite of all. Like Shatila's "Finger," it reminded me of the baklava (or baklawa) you see in Middle Eastern restaurants in the US, but without the syrupy heaviness.

Having been bombed with chocolate cookies, biscuits and chocolate-covered fruit before Christmas, and now this...I can't fathom how we will get through the rest of January, and the dark and rainy months of February and March without these special treats...

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