Baklava

Baklava

I’ve always loved Baklava but had never made it, so I looked through a number of different recipes and came up with this one.  I had pistachios in the freezer but not enough, so added some crushed almonds to my nut mix.  I know this may not be an authentic way to make Baklava but after looking at numerous recipes, it seemed many added a variety of nuts and other ingredients between the layers. The process is a little long for the making of Baklava but not difficult and so worth it.  I have also found that Baklava freezes really well.  I take out a few pieces when needed and serve at room temperature.  

Ingredients:

Syrup:

1/2 cup mild tasting honey

1 1/2 cups of white sugar

1 1/2 cups of water

1 stick of cinnamon

Juice from 1/2 lemon

Baklava:

3 cups of ground pistachios- I used pistachios and almonds- use whatever nuts you like, pecans or walnuts will work.  I used a food processor to grind the nuts up.

1 pound of unsalted butter, melted and clarified ( skim off the milk solids and don’t use the stuff in the bottom of the pan.)

1 pound or 1 box of phyllo dough.

Directions:

1. Combine all the syrup ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 10-15 minutes until a thin syrup is formed.  Allow to cool to room temperature while you build the baklava.

Sugar honey syrup

Sugar honey syrup

2.  Heat the oven to 350°F.

3. When grinding the nuts in the food processor, don’t grind too long or you will end up with a nut butter.

4. Lay out the phyllo dough on a clean tea towel.  Lay another towel on top of the phyllo to help prevent it from drying out.

5.  In a 9 x 13 baking pan, start layering the phyllo, alternating with the melted butter. If the sheets of phyllo are too large for the pan, just fold the edges over into the pan. Layer 6 to 8 sheets of phyllo in the bottom of the pan, brushing each sheet lightly with the melted butter using a pastry brush.

Starting to layer and butter phyllo sheets

Starting to layer and butter phyllo sheets

6. Now sprinkle a thin layer of the nut mixture over the phyllo dough. Cover nuts with 3-4 layers more of the sheets of phyllo, each brushed lightly with butter.  Sprinkle lightly with nuts, repeat until the nuts are used up and top or cover with 6-8 more sheets of phyllo, continuing to brush each layer lightly with butter.

Layering with crushed nuts

Layering with crushed nuts

Buttered and layered phyllo dough and crushed nuts

Buttered and layered phyllo dough and crushed nuts

7. Refrigerate the uncooked baklava for about 30 minutes until the butter solidifies.  Then cut with a sharp knife into 32 pieces, 4 x 8.

Cold pastry sliced into 32 pieces- 8 x 4

Cold pastry sliced into 32 pieces- 8 x 4

8. Bake at 350°F for about 1 hour, all the layers of phyllo should be light brown right down to the bottom of the pan.  If the lower layers are still uncooked, you will have a doughy baklava.

Baklava just out of the oven

Layers of phyllo pastry just out of the oven

9. As soon as you take it out of the oven, pour the room temperature syrup evenly over the hot pastry.  The rule is hot pastry, cool syrup or you will get a soggy dessert. Start with half of the syrup, letting the pastry absorb it, you may not use it all.  Serve that day or you can freeze the baklava, bringing it out a few pieces at a time and bringing to room temperature before you eat it, although I like eating it frozen, it’s just so good.

Room temperature syrup poured over hot just out of the oven baklava

Room temperature syrup poured over hot,  just out of the oven baklava

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