As the result of my recent post, Save the Honey Bees, Save the Baklava, I’ve gotten a lot of requests for my baklava recipe, so here is an authentic baklava recipe straight from my Greek family’s recipes. My yiayia used to make her own phyllo dough, and as yummy as it is, I find it just as tasty (don’t tell her that) to use pre-made. Even though I am familiar with this particular style of baklava, there are many cultures around the world (Lebanese, Turkish, Albanian, etc) that also make this sweet treat with their own variations. Some roll it in the phyllo dough, others make it int tight little rolled triangles, and some even create a spiral wreath. So without further ado, break a plate, throw on some bouzouki rebetika music and shout out one last Oupah for good measure.
- 1 lb. of chopped almonds, walnuts, or pistachios (or use a combination of them)
- 1 lb of phyllo dough
- 1 cup of butter, melted
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1/3 teaspoon of ground cloves
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1/2 cup of honey
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (That’s the trick!)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- finely crushed almonds, walnuts and/or pistachios (optional)
- Thaw the phyllo dough according to the manufacturer’s directions (overnight may be required). When thawed, roll out the dough and cut the dough so the sheets will fit in the pan. Cover with a damp towel to keep it from drying out.
- Set the oven to 350°F.
- Lightly grease two 8×8 pans or or one 9x13 pan.
- Process the nuts into small, even-sized pieces. Combine with sugar, cinnamon and cloves.
- Melt the butter separately.
- Place a sheet of phyllo dough into the pan. Use a pastry brush to coat the phyllo sheet with melted butter. Press it lightly to fit the pan.
- Use a spoon to spread on a thin layer of the nut mixture. Cover with two more sheets of phyllo, brushing each one with butter. Continue to repeat the nut mixture and two buttered sheets of phyllo until the nut mixture is all used up. The top layer should be 8 phyllo sheets thick, each sheet individually buttered, including the top. It's normal for the sheets to wrinkle, which adds more texture.
- Use a sharp knife, make one slice all the way through, from corner to corner. Continue cutting, criss-crossing until you have a bunch of diagonal pieces.
- Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden brown and edges appear slightly crisp.
- While your creation is baking in the oven, make the syrup. Combine the cinnamon stick, sugar, lemon juice, honey and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium low heat and let simmer for 7 minutes and slightly thickened. Remove the cinnamon stick and allow to the syrup to cool.
- Spoon the cooled syrup over the freshly baked, hot baklava.
- Let it cool for at least 4 hours before serving, which allows all of the delicious flavors to meld together.
- Garnish with finely ground nuts.
- Ground pistachios makes a nice garnish, especially if serving to fellow green divas and/or dudes.
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