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. Here is how to make some pretty brilliant baklava.
For the baklava:
- 1 lb. of chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, or pistachios are best, 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
- (Some people add a dash of vanilla)
For the syrup:
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1/2 cup of honey
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (That’s the trick!)
- 1 cinnamon stick
1 Lightly grease a 9×13 pan and set the oven to 350°F.
2 Thaw the phyllo dough according to manufacturer’s directions (this may take overnight). When thawed, roll out the dough and cut the dough in half so the sheets will fit in the pan. Cover with a damp towel to keep it from drying out.
3 Process the nuts until in small, even sized pieces. Combine with sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. In a separate bowl, melt the butter in the microwave.
4 Place a sheet of phyllo dough into the pan. Using a pastry brush, brush the phyllo sheet with melted butter. Repeat 7 more times until it is 8 sheets thick, each sheet being “painted” with the butter.
5 Spoon 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 being individually buttered. Do not worry if the sheets crinkle up a bit, it will just add more texture.
6 Cut into 24 equal sized squares using a sharp knife. Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden brown, and edges appear slightly crisp.
7 While baking, make the syrup. Combine the cinnamon stick, sugar, lemon juice, honey, and water in a 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 cool.
8 Spoon the cooled syrup over the hot baklava and let cool for at least 4 hours. Garnish with some finely crushed pistachios of desired.