Baklava is something I've wanted to make for years. For some reason it seemed somewhat intimidating to me so I just put it off. Repeatedly. Well, I finally got around to making it and let me tell you...it was easy. A little time consuming, but easy.
In fact, making baklava is easy enough to be dangerous. Dangerous because it is probably one of my top ten favorite things to eat of all time. All those flaky layers of phyllo dough dripping with a spicy honey flavored syrup and jam packed with nuts. It's total heaven. Messy, sticky, crispy, crunchy heaven. If I don't find someone to share it with I will totally eat the whole pan myself.
Adapted from Food From Many Greek Kitchens
by Tessa Kiros
Makes About 30 pieces
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoon honey
juice of 1/2 lemon
strip of lemon peel
2 or 3 small cinnamon sticks
1 cup walnuts, crushed but with some texture
1 cup pistachios, crushed but with some texture
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
22 sheets phyllo pastry
About 2/3 cup (1-1/4 sticks) butter, melted to golden brown (I had to use a tad more)*
30 or so whole cloves for decorating (optional, but I omitted)*
Preheat the oven to 350F. To make the syrup, put the sugar, honey, lemon juice, lemon peel and cinnamon in a saucepan with 1 cup water and bring to a boil, stirring. Simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, then take off the heat and cool.
Mix the walnuts, pistachios, sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Have the phyllo sheets ready, covered by a dish cloth to prevent them from drying out. Brush the base of an 8-1/2 x 12-inch baking dish with butter. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo on the bottom and brush with butter. Cover with another sheet, brush it with butter and continue in this way until you have a neat stack of 10 sheets lining the bottom of the dish. Spread half the nut mixture over the phyllo, patting it down firmly and leveling the surface. Cover with another 2 sheets of phyllo, buttering each one. Scatter the rest of the nuts over evenly and press down gently. Now lay down the last 10 sheets of phyllo, buttering each one, of course, and finishing with the last layer buttered.
Using a small sharp knife, cut diamonds on the diagonal of about 2-1/2 x 2-1/2 inches. Cut all the way through the layers of phyllo, as this will make it easier to lift out the pieces when serving. Flick just a little cold water over the top to prevent the layers from curling up. Stud the enter of each diamond with a clove (if using). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until gently golden on top. Gently pour half the syrup all over the baklava. Wait for it to be absorbed, then pour over the rest. Leave to cool totally before serving. Will keep, unrefrigerated, for at least a week, covered with a dish cloth.
*I used Athens brand phyllo sheets and there were exactly 2 rolls of 22 sheets phyllo each.
|Getting a Little Nutty, or Seedy!|