Baklava sundae

In September, St. Demetrios in Seattle holds their Greek Festival.  I went for the first time this past year and I stuffed my craw with more spanakopita than was wise to.  Since we went the last day of the festival, all the galaktoboureko (or as I like to call it:  Galactic Burrito; and how they like call it:  γαλακτομπούρεκο) was gone.  For dessert we settled on a baklava sundae we had seen people walking around with.  It was oddly-colored cheap “vanilla” ice cream on top of a delicious piece of baklava.  It was served to us by someone from the local news we should have recognized, according to the lady in line behind us.  I instantly wanted to do a fancied up version of a baklava sundae on my dessert menu— honey ice cream with cinnamon candied nuts, phyllo shards and drizzled with rose syrup....

Baklava Sundae

When we started getting honey from Heavenly Honey Farm in Puyallup, the time had come for baklava sundae.  This honey is really, really lovely.  They don’t seem to have a website, sadly, but you can find them at a couple farmer’s markets in the area.  I highly recommend this honey!

Honey Ice Cream
makes over a quart
3 cups heavy cream
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup very good quality honey
1 tsp rose water (or more to taste)

In a saucepan, bring the cream to a scald.  Whisk the egg yolks and temper the cream into the yolks.  Transfer back into the saucepan and, stirring constantly, heat gently until the custard coats the back of a spoon (~185º).  Remove from the heat and stir in the honey and rose water.  Cool the mixture quickly, chill it overnight, churn it and freeze it.

Cinnamon Candied Nuts
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp hot water
2 cups nuts (I use half walnuts and half pistachios)

Combine all these ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat the nuts.  Drain the excess liquid off the nuts and spread over a Silpat-lined baking sheet and bake until golden and caramelized (10 minutes).  Cool the nuts completely on the pan, then break them apart and coarsely chop them.

Rose Syrup
12 oz sugar
5 oz water
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp rose water (or more to taste) 

In a saucepan, bring the sugar, water and honey just to a boil.  Remove from the heat and stir in the rose water.  Cool and chill.

For the phyllo shards, I brush melted butter and sprinkle cinnamon between four layers of phyllo and cut the sheets into easy to handle triangles.  I lay them on a baking sheet and bake until golden.  I don’t use sugar here, because there is plenty going on already, so when baked the layers of phyllo will not stick together like you might expect them too.  That’s okay, though, we are just going to break them up anyway.

In a bowl as large as you desire, place some nuts and some shards of phyllo— top with a good scoop of the honey ice cream— top the ice cream with enough nuts to suit yourself— place larger shards of phyllo around to decorate— drizzle the whole damn thing with rose syrup— let the bacchanal begin— let the diabetic coma lull you to contentment....