Baklava

A little bit fussy

This is a family recipe – some of the fuss is taken out of it because you pour the melted butter over the top of the constructed baklava instead of brushing all those layers. Bonus is that it uses an entire package of phyllo – just be sure to defrost it in the refrigerator the day before.

  • Syrup:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 14 whole cloves
  • Peel from one lemon (not zest, peel)
  • Nuts:
  • 1 lb. walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 TBS toasted sesame seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 lb. unsalted butter
  • 1 lb. phyllo

Make the syrup: combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer 20 minutes. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Combine the nut filling ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.

Melt butter in a small saucepan. Skim off foam. Pour almost all the butter into a liquid measuring cup, but leave the milk solids behind.

Place 6 layers of phyllo in the bottom of an ungreased 9×13″ pan. Reserve 6 layers phyllo for the top. Sprinkle 1/4 cup nut mixture over phyllo. Place 2 layers phyllo over nuts, top with another 1/4 cup nuts. Repeat until all the phyllo and nuts are used (except the reserved 6 for the top). Top the last layer of nuts with the reserved 6 layers of phyllo.

Cut the baklava into diamonds with a sharp knife – cut parallel lines horizontally spaced about 2″ apart. Cut diagonal lines from the top of the pan to the bottom.

Pour melted, clarified butter all over the baklava.

Bake 45 minutes at 300 degrees. Increase oven to 350 degrees and bake another 15-20 minutes, until dark golden brown.

Remove from oven and immediately pour cooled syrup all over the baklava. Let cool completely (at least 4 hours) and cut through again to separate pieces.

This is best made ahead and keeps for many days at room temperature.

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