Prep 1 hr 50 mins
Cook 1 hr
Since the Mediterranean area is rich in honey, nuts, and citrus fruits, it is no wonder that these are the main ingredients in the traditional Greek dessert, Baklava. One of the sweetest pastries you can imagine, these diamond-shaped delights are made by layering phyllo pastry dough with a chopped walnut and almond mixture,l then flavored with a touch of honey, citrus, and cinnamon. It is perfect with coffee after a meal. A tiny piece will go a long, long way! Be sure to make Baklava with sweet (unsalted) butter. Then for a different twist, substitute cognac for some of the water in the honey syrup, and a handful of finely chopped pistachio nuts for some of the walnuts. Just before baking, add a sprinkling of sesame seeds on top for another twist.
- 3⁄4 cup water
- 3⁄4 cup sugar
- 1 1⁄2 cups honey
- 2 inches piece cinnamon sticks
- 4 lemon slices
- 4 orange slices
- 2 cups finely chopped walnuts or 2 cups ground walnuts
- 1 cup finely chopped blanched almonds or 1 cup ground blanched almond
- 3⁄4 cup sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 (1 lb) packageprepared phyllo pastry, leaves thawed if frozen (15x12) or 1 (1 lb) packageprepared strudel pastry dough, thawed if frozen (15x12)
- 1 1⁄2 cups unsalted butter, melted
- Prepare honey syrup: In a medium-sized saucepan over high heat, combine 3/4 cup water and 3/4 cup sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.
- Add honey, cinnamon stick, and lemon and orange slices. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Strain; cool. Syrup should measure approximately 2-1/2 cups.
- Prepare filling: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, mix nuts, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Remove pastry leaves from package; cover with a damp towel to prevent drying out. In a 15-1/2x10x1-inch jelly-roll pan, place 2 pastry leaves, brushing top leaf with some of the melted butter.
- Sprinkle with a third of the filling. Add 6 more pastry leaves, brushing every other one with butter. Sprinkle with another third of the nut filling. Layer 6 more leaves, brushing every other one with butter. Sprinkle with the remaining nut filling.
- Stack remaining pastry leaves on top, brushing every one with melted butter; brush top pastry leaf with butter. Trim overhanging edges, if necessary.
- With a sharp knife, cut through the top layer on the long side making 8 diagonal cuts at 1-1/2-inch intervals to form diamonds. (Cut through top layer only; do not cut through all the layers.).
- Bake 60 minutes or until baklava is golden and puffy. Turn off oven; leave in oven for 60 minutes. Remove. Pour cooled honey syrup over hot baklava. Following diamond pattern, cut all the way through baklava. Place pan on wire rack; cool in pan so that baklava absorbs syrup.