A/N: Hi, just wanted to add a warning about 3.0 + 1.0 spoilers in the reviews. Please spoil the movie. Spoil the absolute shit out of the movie. Don't stop spoiling.
One cup sugar, three-quarters a cup of water, a half-cup of honey, a dash of lemon juice, and a little bit of cinnamon. Shinji stirred the mixture until the sugar was dissolved, and let it boil for five minutes to thicken.
The honey glaze was complete. The butter? Melted. The pistachios?
After the painstaking process of shelling each individual pistachio, Shinji poured them all into a blender along with a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon. He pulsed the blender several times until he was left with a not-too-fine pistachio powder. The consistency needed to be inconsistent. What he was looking for were a good number of small yet visible chunks of unblended pistachio.
Shinji was ready.
He painted the inside of a baking pan with melted butter, and gently sat down a layer of phyllo dough on the bottom. More melted butter on the phyllo dough, and then another layer of phyllo dough. He repeated this until he had six layers of the remarkably thin dough on the bottom of the pan.
He brushed the top layer with more melted butter, and poured on the first layer of crushed pistachios, spreading them out evenly on the dough. Three more layers of phyllo dough, all with melted butter brushed between them, and another layer of pistachios.
At the end of the delicate layering process, there were three layers of pistachios, with three sheets of phyllo dough above and below them, the bottom and topmost sets of dough layers being double that in number.
He cut the raw pastry into diamond-shaped pieces before putting the baking pan in the oven for close to an hour.
The baklava came out looking golden-brown on the top. It was almost perfect. Almost.
Shinji carefully ladled the honey glaze over the still-hot pastry, making sure to get it well into each gap so that it would be absorbed by the pastry as it cooled.
The baklava was complete, no school, no sync tests, and Misato and Asuka would both be home in a few hours. Tonight was going to be perfect.
"The hell is this?" said Asuka, while cautiously eyeing the pastry on her plate.
"It's baklava, a middle-eastern pastry. Or Greek. Sorry, I'm not sure, I just found it in my cookbook and thought it looked nice."
"Well Shinji, I think it looks great," said an excited Misato, before she took a bite. "Taste's great too! I bet it would go great with a beer," she proceeded to down a can of the aforementioned liquid in seconds.
"Yeah, it's-" Asuka took another bite, "-not bad actually. For something made by an idiot, I mean."
Shinji smiled. "Thank you, I wanted to try something different since you said you were getting bored of Japanese food, and thought dessert would be a nice place to start."
Asuka's cheeks reddened. "W-well, that's good! Maybe instead of Baka Shinji," she crossed her arms, proud of the elaborate play on words she instantly thought up, "I'll call you Baklava Shinji!"
That college degree was finally useful for something.
"Congratulations, Baklava Shinji, you've moved up in the world!"
Followed by the sound of a spoon hitting a plate. Across from Asuka sat Shinji, his eyes wide with horror and his lips quivering.
"Asuka, what the HELL!" roared a very angry Misato. As Shinji started to sob, she quickly rushed over to his side to console him.
"Shhh, shhh, it's gonna be okay, the mean words aren't true," she turned to the shocked redhead, "Asuka, go to your room. I don't want you anywhere near Shinji for a while. I'm very disappointed in you."
Asuka ran to her room.
The girl sat huddled up on her bed. Tears streamed down her face. She hurriedly flicked them away, but more would always follow. More flicking, more tears. They always came back. They never stopped.
Tonight was just awful.