I’m not one for going to the gym. I make desserts instead.
Instead of bar-bells, I have lemons bars. Instead of stair-steppers, I have easy-step recipes. Instead of muscle rollers I have rolling pins.
That doesn’t mean I don’t get a work-out.
After a long day of baking my muscles are as sore as they would be after a gym workout. I’ve only recently learned the actual names for these muscles. My icing piping muscles are actually deltoids. My dough rolling muscle is actually the brachioradillus. My kneading muscles are really the flexor retinaculum, and the flexor digitorum communis. The scientists aren’t as literal as I am.
Recently my cooking muscles were put to the test. Phyllo dough is a staple of Greek baking, and is a main ingredient in Baklava. I consider it the P90X of baking. Its starts with a short warm-up, mix flour, water and vinegar. Quickly it gets your blood pumping, kneading the olive oil into the dough. After this comes the soul crushing task of rolling out the dough. As phyllo means leaf in Greek, it must be leaf-thin. I’ve worked out a few special techniques to get the dough paper thin. Once you’re done with that, immediately begin shelling pistachios (as these are the main nut is your house… besides your mother). Chop and mix the pistachios with cinnamon. With great concentration layer the butter and the nut mixture until you have used up all the ingredients. Cut and bake in the oven. As a cool down, mix sugar, water, lemon juice, honey, and vanilla over high heat and let simmer. When the pastry is done, remover it from the oven and immediately top with syrup.
Treat yourself to a nice piece of Baklava after a hard work out!
4 cups flour
1 tsp. white vinegar
2/3 cups warm water
2 tsp. olive oil
1. Mix flour vinegar and water by hand
2. Spread olive oil on dough and knead in until you’ve used all the olive oil. Knead for several minutes until the dough is elastic.
3. Divide dough into manageable portions, and roll out with a rolling pin (if you’re not looking for a work-out, you can use a pasta machine to roll the dough)
4. Use immediately