My detective stories set in Greektown Detroit, Michigan, are full of references to food. The family congregates around an old, walnut dining room table, eating the same food my family ate when I was growing up.
Readers asked me to compile a recipe book. I thought, why not? How hard can it be? Well, it was so far over my head, I quickly put the brakes on it and instead offered titles to the plethora of fabulous Greek cookbooks available.
One recipe however, is mine when I’m too lazy to make real Baklava, which I’d never attempt anyway. This is a pretty cake, a big hit at potlucks, and takes very little effort.
Yellow cake mix
Walnuts to cover top of cake
Frozen Filo dough
Prepare the cake mix in two pans according to directions.
While the cake is baking, toss walnuts with a Tsp. of oil and a pinch of salt, spread on a cookie sheet and roast, being careful they don’t get too dark. Chop coarse when cooled.
After removing the nuts from the oven, put several layers of semi-thawed filo dough prepared according to the directions on the box, into the oven to bake. It doesn’t take long . You’ll want the sheets to be light brown.
After the cake has cooled, assemble it, covering with the white frosting.
Cover the frosted top with the chopped walnuts. Dust lightly with cinnamon. Crush the filo dough into quarter-sized pieces. It’s easy to turn it into dust, so use caution here. Take the crushed baked filo and press it into the sides of the frosted cake. Drizzle with honey!
The crisp filo and salted walnuts are a really nice accompaniment to the super sweet frosting and honey. I use a light hand drizzling with the honey. Diners can always add more if they’d like.
The Donut Shop Murder is the new novella prequel to The Greektown Detective Stories