Baklava

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Baklava is one of the first desserts that I can remember eating. Every Christmas my dad would order heaps and mountains of desserts from various food catalogs, and the one that went the quickest was always the Baklava. For those who haven’t had it, it’s layers upon layers of butter brushed phyllo dough with cinnamon scented walnuts in the middle, and after you’ve baked it, you pour a citrus honey syrup all over it for the phyllo to soak up. I’ve done much baklava research over the years, and there are a few tricks that yield the best baklava. First of all, pouring hot syrup over cooled baklava ensures that the baklava syrup gets evenly soaked up, and it also prevents the baklava from getting soggy. Additionally, the easiest time to cut the baklava into squares is when the baklava has baked halfway through. Here’s how to make some stellar baklava:

Pulse the walnuts in a food processor with the cinnamon until nicely chopped:

Place 4 layers of phyllo dough on the bottom of your dish, and brush with butter. Sprinkle with the walnuts:

Repeat this layering process until all the ingredients are gone, then bake for 25 minutes. Cut into squares with a sharp knife:

Then bake for 25 more minutes.

Prepare the syrup and pour all over the baklava so it can soak through, then let it cool completely. Enjoy!

Baklava

Yield: Yield: 1 8x6 pan. I purposely bake this in an 8x6 pan, which is about half the usual 9x13, because otherwise my husband and I would devour it all in a day. If you want to do a 9x13, just double all of the ingredients.

Ingredients:

    For the Baklava:
  • 8 oz walnuts
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 8 oz phyllo dough (1/2 a 16 oz box), microwaved in the roll for 30 seconds
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • For the Syrup:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup good quality honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 strip orange zest, removed with vegetable peeler
  • 1 strip lemon zest, removed with vegetable peeler

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Pulse the walnuts in a food processor with the cinnamon, cardamom, and salt until nicely chopped.
  3. Place 4 layers of phyllo dough on the bottom of a 8x6 dish, and brush with butter. I find that the easiest way to do this is to dot butter all along the edges, then butter the middle. That way the brush doesn't lift up the layers. Add another 4 layers, brush with butter, then another 4 layers, brush with butter again. Sprinkle the phyllo with 1/4 cup chopped walnuts.
  4. Add another 3-4 layers of phyllo, brush with butter, then sprinkle with nuts. Repeat this process until you have 8 layers left for the top. Lay 4 layers of phyllo on top, brush with butter, then add the remaining 4 phyllo layers, and brush with butter again.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the baklava from the oven and cut into squares with a sharp knife.
  6. Bake for 25 more minutes, then remove the baklava from the oven.
  7. Bring all syrup ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, then cook for 3 minutes. Remove the lemon zest, orange zest, cinnamon stick, and pour the hot syrup evenly over the baklava. Let the baklava cool completely at room temperature for 8 hours (uncovered, to prevent sogginess). The results are even better if you let the flavors sit overnight until everything has melded. Enjoy!
http://www.fifteenspatulas.com/baklava/

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12 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

  • avatar Greg Vandeventer March 15, 2012, 4:07 pm

    These look so delicious!

    Reply
  • avatar Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts March 15, 2012, 5:44 pm

    Looks wonderful. I have only had Baklava once in my life!

    Reply
  • avatar anne March 15, 2012, 8:00 pm

    The first time I’ve seen baklava was from the one of the British cooking show on location to Turkey . I found myself drooling when the man cut up this flaky baklava hahahha Your gorgeous creation deserves some serious drooling , too ! ;)

    Reply
  • avatar Mi Vida en un Dulce March 15, 2012, 8:38 pm

    ohhhh…baklava…even it’s so sweet I enjoy eating it. Never make at home because my husband doesn’t like nuts, no when a dessert has too much, like this one…ok, I have a very big list of what he doesnt’ like, sometimes I don’t mind of that list.

    Reply
  • avatar Dee at Deelicious Sweets March 15, 2012, 9:52 pm

    I have never had Baklava! The way you described this recipe makes me want some right now! It sounds fabulous :)

    Reply
  • avatar Bloggy Writer March 15, 2012, 11:45 pm

    A superb way to cook. I have never had Bakhlava before, but your recipe and the tips are so helpful that I am surely going to make it and try.

    Reply
  • avatar sportsglutton March 16, 2012, 9:44 am

    For some reason I always find homemade baklava more appealing that anything bought from the store..I think because I know it’s fresh.

    Reply
  • avatar Magic of Spice March 17, 2012, 6:26 pm

    Baklava is something I have never tried to make myself…but this looks heavenly!

    Reply
  • avatar Raymund March 18, 2012, 3:41 am

    I suddenly missed my Jordanian colleague, he used to bring a lot of these at office. Yummy sweet treats

    Reply
  • avatar Martyna@WholesomeCook March 20, 2012, 1:20 am

    No you didn’t! It’s one of my favourite indulgences and although it may sound weird, I’ve recently added some pork to it and it was delicious too!

    Reply
  • avatar Emilia September 25, 2012, 10:15 am

    It looks very nice! We usually liberally butter each layer of phyllo, cut before baking, and use cloves in the syrup, but pretty much the same! I love my yiayia’s family recipe.

    Reply
  • avatar merve February 3, 2013, 3:39 pm

    its looks like delicious!! im from Turkey and usually Baklava made with walnuts and pistachio,try it. i know you will like it. I hope so, you can try it in Turkey! :)

    Reply

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