Orange Chocolate Baklava
1 small orange
3/4 cup water
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons honey
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup lightly toasted, unblanched whole almonds (about 5 ounces)
1 cup lightly toasted walnuts (about 4 ounces)
6 ounces 70% bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 ounces pitted dates (about 6 to 8), coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup clarified butter, melted
9 sheets phyllo dough (about half of a 1-pound box), thawed
For the syrup:
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the orange in strips.
Juice the orange.
In a medium saucepan, combine the zest, 3 tablespoons of the juice, the water, honey, both sugars and the cinnamon stick and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Reduce the heat and let the syrup simmer gently for 45 minutes.
As the syrup cooks, skim any foam that rises to the surface.
Remove the pan from the heat and discard the zest and cinnamon stick.
For the filling:
In a food processor, pulse the almonds and walnuts until sandy in texture.
Add the chocolate and pulse until finely chopped.
Add the dates and pulse until the dates and chocolate are about the same size.
Place in a small bowl, toss with the salt and cinnamon, and set aside.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350º F.
Near your work surface, set out the nut mixture, melted butter, a 9x14x2-inch baking pan and a pastry brush.
Unroll the sheets of phyllo and cover with a slightly damp towel to keep the layers from cracking.
When working with phyllo, dont let a tear throw you.
Just piece a torn sheet back together and keep layering.
Place one set of phyllo, with a long side facing you, on the work surface.
Brush with a light coating of butter, and sprinkle the entire surface with a a heaping 1/3 cup of nut mixture.
Repeat two more times to form three layers of phyllo, butter and nuts.
Carefully fold up the bottom edge and then roll up into a log.
Trim the rough ends, cut the log in half, and place the two halves side by side at one end of the pan.
Repeat with the remaining sheets and filling, making two more logs.
Place these logs side by side across the pan, at a right angle to the first two logs.
With a sharp paring knife, score the logs at 2-inch intervals.
Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Transfer the pan to a cooling rack.
Remove any excess butter with a turkey baster, and discard.
Reheat the syrup over medium heat.
As soon as the logs are cool enough to handle, cut through the scored lines, then pour the warm syrup over the baklava.
Using a turkey baster or a spoon, baste the pieces with the syrup that settles on the bottom of the pan, until almost all of the syrup has soaked in.
Cover with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.
Makes 2 dozen pieces.
Pairs Well With
From The Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate by Robert Steinberg and John Scharffenberger