To baklava connoisseurs, Samia Ziade’s baklava is legendary. It is the kind of stuff rarely found in this country — airy, not too sticky or tooth-achingly sweet like most baklava.
For years, the baklava was available only online, but now, after a brief hiatus from baking, Ziade has opened a brick-and-mortar shop, The Café at Sam’s Bakery in Bay Ridge, serving up fair-trade, organic coffee, hummus, tabbouleh and lamb pies alongside her famous pastries and Robicelli’s cupcakes.
The trick, Ziade explains, is subbing walnuts for pistachios, butter for vegetable shortening, and using a light hand when pouring on the sauce of sugar, lemon, rose water and orange blossom water.
“Usually I don’t like sweets, so these are not too sweet,” said Ziade. “One day I tried to make baklava, and lucky for me it came out good.”
There is no recipe and never has been — Ziade relies purely on scent and intuition.
Ziade’s daughter, Rita Ziade, says the idea for the store actually came about when her brothers were hunting for good, organic coffee in Bay Ridge and failed to find any. The place will eventually feature open mic nights and music, but for now, the baklava takes center stage.
“There is no baklava like this,” said Rita Ziade.
The Café at Sam’s Bakery [275 94th St. between Third Avenue and Ridge Boulevard in Bay Ridge, (347) 560-6657]. Order online at samsbakery.com.