Prep 2 hrs
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
In 'Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey' by Jill O'Connor
- 3 cups finely chopped walnuts
- 2 cups finely chopped almonds
- 2⁄3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 lbs phyllo dough (seventy-five 9 x 13 inch sheets)
- 1 1⁄2 cups unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups mild honey
- 2 cups water
- lemon peel (one 6-inch strip)
- 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 13 x 9 inch metal baking pan with melted butter.
- Pastry: in a small bowl, combine the walnuts, almonds, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves; set aside.
- On a clean work surface, lay flat 1 sheet of phyllo and brush it lightly with melted butter.
- Layer 7 more sheets of phyllo over the first, buttering each one.
- Carefully lay this stack of butter phyllo in the prepared pan.
- Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of the nut mixture.
- Layer together 8 more sheets of phyllo, buttering each sheet, and lay this stack over the first layer of nuts.
- Sprinkle the second stack of phyllo sheets with another 1 cup of the nut mixture.
- Repeat this process until there are 5 stacks of buttered phyllo (8 sheets in each stack) separated by and ending with a layer of nut mixture (1 cup for each of 5 layers).
- On a flat work surface, prepare the top of the pastry by layering together 35 sheets of phyllo dough, buttering each sheet.
- Carefully place this stack of layered phyllo over the last layer of nuts in the pan.
- The pan should be completely full of pastry.
- With a sharp knife, score the baklava into square or diamond-shape pieces by cutting through just the top layers of phyllo dough.
- Bake until crisp throughout and the top layers are golden brown, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- While the baklava is baking, make the honey syrup: combine all the syrup ingredients in a large stockpot and bring the syrup to a boil over med-high heat.
- Decrease heat to medium and simmer until the mixture is the consistency of thick maple syrup, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the syrup from the heat and let cool slightly.
- As soon as the baklava comes out of the oven, spoon the slightly warm syrup over the pastry.
- Let the baklava cool completely before cutting the scored pieces completely.
- Don't be nervous if the baklava seems to be swimming in the syrup initially.
- As the pastry cools, the syrup is absorbed into the layers.
- It is very important to allow the baklava to cool completely, giving the syrup plenty of time to ease into the pastry layers and give the baklava its wonderful gooey-crisp texture.
- Baklava will keep, covered, for 2 days at room temperature or 4 days refrigerated.