Prep 30 mins
Cook 45 mins
This is my version of the popular Greek sweet after some experimentation with ingredients and quantities. I no longer remember which site I got the original recipe that I began modifying from, but it's wonderful. Made with care, this results in a rich, flaky and absolutely delicious treat.
- 1 lb walnuts, finely chopped
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1⁄4 cups butter, melted
- 1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough, thawed
- 1 cup water
- 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 1⁄2 cup honey
- 1⁄2 teaspoon lemon zest, finely shredded
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 inches cinnamon sticks
- For filling, stir together walnuts, ½ cup sugar and the cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Brush a 15x10x1 -inch baking pan (I use a cookie sheet) with some of the melted butter.
- Unfold phyllo dough. Keep phyllo covered with plastic wrap and a damp towel, removing sheets as you need them. Contact with air makes the phyllo sheets brittle.
- Layer 10 of the phyllo sheets in the pan, generously brushing each sheet with melted butter as you layer. If any sheet breaks or tears, don't sweat it - you won't see it in the final results. Just try to keet the layers even and the top layers intact.
- Sprinkle 1/3 of the filling on top of the phyllo.
- Repeat layering and filling steps two more times (using 9 sheets for each of the middle layers).
- Layer remaining phyllo (12 sheets) on the final filling layer, brushing each sheet with butter before adding the next sheet. Drizzle top phyllo sheet with remaining butter.
- Trim edges to fit pan if necessary (I don't).
- Using a sharp knife, cut through all the layers to make elongated diamond shaped pieces. Try to avoid cutting through to the bottom layer.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until golden.
- Cool in pan on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, for the syrup, bring the remaining 1½ cups sugar, 1 cup water, honey, lemon peel, lemon juice, and stick cinnamon just to boiling in a medium saucepan.
- Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes.
- Remove cinnamon.
- Pour hot mixture over cooled baklava (see note below).
- Cut along pre-made marks and sprinkle chopped walnuts on the top.
- NOTE #1: Baklava will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days, but I find that the walnuts in the filling tend to go rancid rather quickly. If they won't be eaten right away, it's best to freeze them.
- To freeze - flash freeze individual pieces on a cookie sheet. When frozen, pack into a ziplock bag and store in the freezer. Thaw on the counter until soft before serving.
- NOTE #2: I use the Athens brand of phyllo sheets, so there are 40 9"x14" sheets. If you're using these sheets, there may be too much syrup so use only about 3/4th of the recipe.
- NOTE #3: If you're using the old kind, bigger sheets the quantity of syrup the recipe makes is probably needed. You're also going to have fewer sheets so layer accordingly.