Greeks, Turks, Arabs claim that they have invented the original recipe.
In my opinion it does not really matter because it is funny when you realize how recipes and culinary traditions travel. I was narrating to Papa’s message board that I took my lesson recently about that! A recipe that I was thinking Greek was pure Sephardic/ Catalan
The word baklava appears in documents in the early 12th century AD but the ingredients existed for centuries earlier.
The phyllo dough was widely used by the Greeks of the 5th century BC but the nomadic tribes of Middle East must have invented it centuries earlier since they were baking thin bread on clay plaques.
Greeks used Honey since 3000 BC in the Aegean (Santorini) Sugar came very early in Europe from China.
One day I was reading Procopius’ “Secret History” . Procopius was a Byzantine Historian of the 6th century who was hired by Emperor Justinean to write about his deeds. But soon Procopius couldn’t tolerate Emperor and above all his wife Theodora and after Justinean’s death he published his “Secret History” where he reveals al the “dirty laundry” of the Royal Court in Justinean Era!.
Procopius in a passage in the “secret History” describes the Empress’ Theodora habits concerning food.
Theodora was some personality. Before getting married to the powerful Emperor Justinean, she was working in a circus as an acrobat!!! They say that she was a prostitute also. She was very short and slightly built , something normal for an acrobat I think.
Theodora must have knows very well the secrets of marketing and self promotion…
She wore very high hills to look taller and she used tons of make –up
Nevertheless, what she really adored to do was to take her breakfast in public! She thought that by doing that people knew that Empress was healthy so she had her breakfast served in the veranda of the Palace!
If you have not read Procopius, you do not know what gross food means…
Procopius mentions her favorite pastry that calls it “Walnut pie with honey”
There is how he describes the recipe. If this is not baklava, then what is it?
I translate Procopius word by word
“ What she (Theodora) loved to have after her roasted beetles (YES!!! You read well) was her walnut pie that the imperial cook was to made by himself following her rules. On a pan (this is not the ancient word, Procopius uses the word Plakous) You place a layer of pressed dough (Plakounta) and you put a layer of walnut on the top with some honey and mellasse (historians think that this a kind of unprocessed sugar). Afterwards you put another layer of dough and again some walnuts and honey and afterwards another layer of dough with walnuts and honey. The plakous (The pan) should be covered by a layer of thin dough and baked in the fireplace after it was covered with a tile. When it was done the cook added hot honey”
Well what do you think!