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Published: Sunday, 10/31/2004

Baklava is star of St. Elias Holiday Bazaar

If you've never seen or tasted rolled baklava, a trip to the St. Elias Holiday Bazaar 2004 on Thursday should be at the top of your list of things to do.

Usually baklava is made with layers and layers of phyllo dough brushed with rendered butter; the Greeks top it with a spiced honey mixture and call it baklava, while the Middle Eastern method of "baklawa" is a simple syrup.

Rolling the phyllo dough is the method used by the St. Elias Ladies' Society, sponsor of the upcoming Holiday Bazaar 2004. First, the phyllo dough is filled with walnuts, then it is rolled like a pencil, cut, and baked. It appeared that less butter is used on the phyllo with the rolled baklava than the layered version; the nuts are wrapped in phyllo and rolled up on a buttered baking sheet.

To store baklava, "wrap [it] in wax paper and store in a sealed plastic container or tin in the refrigerator, " advises Wendy Tanber Staley, chairwoman of the bazaar.

"These ship well," says Denise Kristoff Colturi, who is in charge of the pastry table. "I mail them to my sister in South Carolina."

The rolled baklava will be among the pastries on the a la carte menu and the bake sale at St. Elias' Holiday Bazaar 2004. Look for other Syrian/Lebanese specialties such as date and nut pastries and bird's nests.

The a la carte lunch and dinner menu includes meat pies, green beans with meat, kibbie (ground meat with wheat), Syrian hamburger called kafta, Mediterranean salad, Syrian rice, stuffed grape leaves, lentil soup, and hummus. Cost ranges from $1.50 to $3.50 per item. Foods will be served a la carte from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is dine in or take-out.

The bazaar also features arts and crafts and the bake sale, which includes homemade baked goods such as breads, pies, and cakes. Sweet rolls, Syrian/Lebanese pastries, juice and coffee will be sold from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Syrian-Lebanese Cook Book:Festive Foods by the St. Elias Ladies' Society ($15) will be available.

The event will be at 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at St. Elias Orthodox Christian Church at 4940 Harroun Rd. in Sylvania. For information call the church at 419-882-4037.

1 1/4 cups sugar syrup, see recipe below

1 1/4 pounds walnuts (or pistachios), ground

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon orange flower water (mazaher)

1 cup rendered butter, melted

1 pound phyllo dough

Prepare syrup and let cool. Prepare filling by mixing nuts, sugar, and mazaher. After unfolding phyllo dough, cover with wax paper and then with a slightly damp towel to prevent drying. Pour 3/4 cup butter into an 18 by 12 by 2-inch cookie sheet. Place a folded tea towel under wide end of cookie sheet so that the butter drains to the opposite side. Using three sheets of phyllo dough, place dough on work surface and brush top lightly with butter, using remaining butter, if desired. Spread 2/3 cup nut filling across wide end of dough, fold in side edges and begin rolling.

Before last couple of turns, lift and place filled dough in butter in the cookie sheet. Complete rolling in butter, then move the roll to opposite wide end of pan. Place rolls close together in cookie sheet. Makes seven and a half rolls. With a sharp knife, cut the rolls into two to three-inch pieces at a sharp diagonal angle. Add any leftover butter. Bake at 300 degrees until nicely browned, about 45 to 55 minutes. Drizzle cold syrup over top of hot baklava, completely saturating each piece. Cool completly before removing from pan.

3 cups sugar

2 cups water

Juice of one lemon, strained

1 teaspoon orange blossom water (mazaher)

Combine sugar and water in saucepan and bring to boil uncovered. Lower heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until last few drops fall slowly from spoon. Add lemon juice and boil 2 minutes. Add mazaher and turn off heat.

Yield: 42 to 46 pieces

Source: St. Elias Ladies' Society

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IN TOWN: Dick Cingolani was here Oct. 15 for a special cooking class at Gourmet Curiosities in Sylvania. The Florida food consultant and chef who designed the Poco Piatti menu provided a cooking class for 25 that was undoubtedly the best culinary buy of the week at $10 per person.

"He made bruschetta, gnocchi from scratch with a vodka sauce, Cingolani's Paella with chicken, clams, chorizo, mussels, and shrimp and a Three Berry Pecan Crisp," says Janet George, Creative Cooking School director. "People were enthralled." Chris Tracy of Calphalon assisted the chef.

IN PRINT: Wilma and Cliff Shinn of Holland couldn't have been prouder when the November issue of Country Home magazine hit the stands. Featured on page 104 and titled "Dinner At Home" is a feature on son-in-law and daughter David Page and Barbara Shinn, owners of the Home Restaurant in New York City. The article features their Long Island weekend home and their long-term project, Shinn Estate Vineyards.

They are urban restaurateurs and small-scale vintners with 50 percent of their roots in Toledo. Mr. Page is a native of Wisconsin.

IN CLASS: King Arthur Baking Classes are as close as Ann Arbor on Nov. 11 at the Courtyard by Marriott at 3205 Boardwalk. Noon to 2 p.m. is Sweet Dough, and 7 to 9 p.m. is Artisan Bread.

No registration is required for the free class. For information, visit www.kingarthurflour.com. Other dates and locations in Michigan are Nov. 8 in Grand Rapids; Nov. 9 in Kalamazoo, and Nov. 10 in Lansing.



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