I hope you’re not the kind of person who has completely despised my random themed months, because we arrive at yet another one! Aren’t you excited???!!! I can practically feel your heart racing in anticipation from here (either that or you just drank too much caffeine this morning 😉 ). Either way, I won’t keep you in suspense for long I promise.
Can I really be blamed though for providing you with another month long series of thematic posts? With the Olympics just starting, you had to know this was coming. If the PanAm games last year taught me anything, it’s that international sporting event based themed months need to happen. I’m just trying my darndest to get you excited about watching the games. Although frankly, as horrible of a person as it makes me, I’m not only excited about how the games will play out, but also, how the situation in Brazil in general is going to play out.
Is it just me, or does it seem like if you’re in Brazil, you basically end up having to be an Olympic athlete whether you want to be one or not? For all those who are not “official” participants, you are automatically entered into all of the following competitions:
- Outrace the Zika virus
- The Parasitic Olympics
- Political Unrest-ling
- Would-Be Muggers Tug-of-War
Your gold medal prizes? Keeping your own money and retaining your health and life! (too soon? 😉 ).
Technically my Olympics themed month is a double duty mashup month. It’s a mashup of two previous themed months I’ve done – dessert mashups and international themed desserts. So basically what’s going to happen here is that I’m going to pick two countries each week and merge together iconic desserts from each one. I think it’s entirely possible that if someone had just done this earlier, world peace would’ve totally happened by now. It’s just my small (and oh-so-humble) way of trying to make a difference.
First up to bat (see how I’m working in a little sporting terminology here? I’m sure they’ll be more to come, so keep your eye on the ball, and I’m sure you’ll make note of others 😉 ) is Baklava Topped BeaverTails!
I know I’ve done baklava on this blog before, but I’ve actually never in my life made any kind of fried/ deep fried dessert (I made mini donuts in mini muffin tins once way back in the day, but, not owning a deep frying and not having any oil in my kitchen at that exact moment, I opted to bake them instead). What better fried dessert to start with than the ultimate in Canadian treats? The Baklava topping adds a delicious subtle sweetness and crunch without being quite as ridiculous (in my opinion at least) as the Triple Trip flavour (which includes “…chocolate hazelnut spread topped with Reese’s Pieces and peanut butter” …this is also known as “Kevin’s dream flavour” 😉 ):
Ok, that’s a bit of lie, that looks incredibly delicious, and you really can’t get too over-the-top in my opinion where extravagant desserts are concerned. Still, I’m also going for uniquely delicious here, so work with me. Even the Triple Trip BeaverTail doesn’t include the delicious nutty crunch of pistachio, so, you know, there’s that. Other side note, if you’re a vegan who felt like you had to sadly remove the traditional BeaverTail from your life, apparently, according to the this blogger who emailed the people at BeaverTail “…only the butter they brush on top right before adding the toppings is non-vegan. The contents of the actual tail are fully vegan”. So basically, you can just ask them not to brush the top of them with butter and you’re all set! Vegan for the win! (what does it say about me that whenever I type the word “win” I very frequently/ almost every time add an “e” to the end which I then subsequently have to remove?)
As with any doughnutty concoction (and as with the offical BeaverTails), these are best enjoyed warm straight outta the pan (which, c’mon, are you really thinking you’re going to “save them for later”? There’s no way they’ll last that long – especially with guys like these around 😉 ).
Yield: 16 mini tails or 8 large (aka regular sized) tails
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup cashew milk, warmed
- 2-1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg replacer
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1L vegetable oil for deep-frying
- 1/4 cup pistachios
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey (or use another sweetener of your choice if you don’t eat honey)
- 1/4 cup agave
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon cup orange juice
- 1 inch slice of lemon peel (you don’t have to, but I recommend cutting out the pith so your just left with the peel part)
- 2 cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- In a bowl combine the warm water, warm cashew milk, yeast and 1 tsp sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
- Add melted butter, the rest of the sugar, salt, vanilla and egg replacer. Give everything a good mix together. Add flour and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Knead for about 10 minutes by hand, until the dough is smooth, silky. Use extra flour if dough is sticky.
- Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel. Leave to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Punch down dough and place onto a lightly floured countertop. Shape into 16 equal sized pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll out each piece of dough into an oval shape. If you like, score a crisscross pattern in the top of dough.
- Place on a lightly floured baking sheet and leave to rise, covered, for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
- While your waiting for it to double in size, you can make your baklava topping. In a food processor, pulse together the nuts and the brown sugar until combined, but you still want to have bigger chunks of nuts left (i.e. don’t let it become a paste). I did about twenty 2 second pulses.
- Make your baklava syrup by combining the honey, agave,water, orange juice, lemon peel, cloves, allspice and cinnamon stick in a saucepan on high and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes (you want the mixture to thicken slightly).
- Remove from heat and take out the cloves, cinnamon stick and lemon peel (which is candied, and if you’ve removed the pith, totally edible and delicious at this point ).
- Heat a large wide pot with about two inches of oil. Heat to 350F/176C. If you don’t have a thermometer, check the oil’s temperature by tearing off a small piece of dough and see if it sizzles and floats to the surface. Keep a close eye on the oil, adjust temperature as needed to prevent it from getting too hot. If you see it smoking or crackling take off the heat to cool down before frying.
- Fry your dough on each side for about 60 seconds or until it turns golden brown.
- Brush the top of the dough with your thickened honey mixture and sprinkle with nut-sugar mixture. Once the tails have been allowed to cool slightly, spoon or drizzle more honey mixture over the top.