Baklava

Ingredients:

1 package of phyllo dough, defrosted in the fridge overnight
3 cups of raw nuts of your choice, I used 1.5 cups of raw walnuts and 1.5 cup of sliced almonds
1/2 cup butter
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves

Syrup:

1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of 1 navel orange

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Make the syrup first by adding the water and sugar to a sauce pan over medium high heat. Stir until sugar has disolved. Add the honey and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the orange zest. Let syrup cool completely.
  3. Place the walnuts and almonds on a cookie sheet in a single layer and then bake for 8 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees F. or until the nuts are a golden brown. Be careful not to burn the nuts.
  4. Let the nuts cool completely and then place in a food processor until they are ground up. Do not over grind and make pasty.
  5. Pour the nuts into a bowl and add the cinnamon and cloves and stir to combine.
  6. Now to assemble the baklava.
  7. Unroll the phyllo dough. Cut the dough in half with scissors to fit the baking dish. I used an 8 x 10. Cover 3/4 of the phyllo dough with a piece of saran wrap and then a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out as you work with a portion of it.
  8. Brush the bottom and sides of the baking dish with butter. Don’t over-do with too much butter as it will make the baklava soggy.
  9. Then lay 10 pieces of phyllo dough, one at a time in the dish. Lightly butter each piece of dough after you place it in the dish.
  10. After the 10th piece of dough, add half a cup of the nut mixture to the layer. Spread the nuts out with your hands to cover the layer.
  11. Then add 3 more pieces of phyllo dough, one at a time, buttering each piece as you place it in the dish. Then add another layer of nuts.
  12. Alternate between 3 layers of dough to one layer of nuts until all the nuts are used.
  13. Finish with 10 sheets of phyllo dough for the top. Butter the last piece on top too. Then cut the baklava into squares or diamonds before baking in the oven.
  14. Bake for 40 to 55 minutes or until it is golden brown.
  15. Once you remove the baklava from the oven, pour the cooled honey mixture over the top. Let it sit for at least 4 hours before eating. Store on your counter, uncovered.

You can also use any nuts you desire. Pecans are nice to use as well as a combination of mixed nuts. Just use raw nuts and then toast them in the oven.

Tips:

  • Remember to butter each dough layer lightly with melted butter.
  • Cut the baklava before baking. It’s just easier.
  • Roast the nuts.
  • Make sure to cool the syrup completely and add it to the hot out of the oven baklava.