Sweet tradition from Evia Island
Kymi is known as the “Balcony of the Aegean” and is a pretty town on the island of Evia. Kymi with its rich maritime tradition is also loved for its unique kind of baklava. Its pieces are exceptionally thick and hearty, filled solely with almonds. By tradition this baklava has no less than 70 thin fyllo sheets and is especially popular during the summertime feasts, as well as New Year and Carnival days. Here’s an old recipe shared by the local Women’s Cooperative with our Balkan Balcony!
70 sheets of fyllo pastry for baklava
1 ½ kilo almonds, blanched and lightly baked in the oven, then chopped
1/2 cup sugar
½ cup dry breadcrumbs
1 ¾ cup butter, melted *
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Mix almonds with sugar and breadcrumbs. Cover the bottom of a 36 cm baking tin with butter and spread 12 fyllo pastry sheets on it, covering every one with butter as you go. On the 13th and 14th sheet sprinkle cinnamon (always covering every sheet with butter). Cover the 16th sheet with 2 tablespoons of the almond mix. Continue the same process until the almond mix is over, and around 55 sheets are placed on top of the other. Spread the rest of the sheets to create the topping, covering every one with butter every time. Cut the pieces to form a crisscross pattern and place a clove stick on top of every piece. If there is any butter left, reheat it well and pour it over the baklava.
Place the baking tin in a preheated oven to 180 C and bake for 1 ½ hour covered with baking foil. Let the baklava cool down for one hour, meanwhile you can prepare the syrup.
2 ½ kilos sugar
6 glasses water
2 pieces of lemon peel
6 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
Mix all ingredients together in a pot, except for the lemon juice. Boil until the syrup thickens well, then add the lemon juice and stir. Pour the hot syrup on to the cooled baklava. Let it rest for one day before you serve.
*In Greece it is common to use goat’s butter for baklava, sold fresh everywhere as “voutyro galaktos”. To use it you heat it up until it melts, then you spread it by use of a pastry brush.