Prep 45 mins
Cook 1 hr
My recipe for baklava takes a bit of work, but is so worth it.
- 1 lb phyllo pastry dough (use Athens brand 14x18 or 9x14)
- 2 cups Greek honey (use Apipharm brand Thyme and Wild Flower)
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- 1 cup purified water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons greek brandy (use Metaxa brand)
- 1 wedge fresh organic lemon rind
- 1 wedge fresh organic orange rind
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 2 cups coarsley ground walnuts
- 1⁄2 cup coarsley ground blanched almond
- 1⁄2 cup coarsely ground blanched hazelnuts
- 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup melted unsalted butter (unsalted butter only)
- whole cloves
- THAW 1 lb. 14x18 or 9x14 Athens brand phyllo dough sheets overnight in refrigerator for the PASTRY if frozen (do not thaw in microwave!); BRING thawed phyllo dough to room temperature before using; UNROLL phyllo sheets; (IF USING 14x18 SHEETS: FOLD the stack over lengthwise to crease in center; SNIP through creased stack to form two stacks phyllo to fit into a 13" x 9" baking dish); PLACE stack of thawed phyllo sheets between wide waxed paper; COVER with damp towel to keep phyllo from drying; KEEP phyllo covered while layering the pastry.
- PULSE the walnuts, blanched almonds and blanched hazelnuts separately in a food processor until coarsely ground, to yield (2 cups coarsley ground walnuts, 1/2 cup coarsley ground almonds, 1/2 cup coarsely ground hazelnuts); SQUEEZE 1 tablespoon lemon juice from one halved organic lemon, retaining the rind; CUT lemon rind into 1/4 wedge and one organic orange into 1/8 wedge; REMOVE the fruit from the lemon and orange wedges; SNIP one vanilla bean in half lengthwise using kitchen scissors.
- BLEND 2 cups Apipharm brand Thyme and Wild Flower Honey, 1 cup superfine sugar and 1 cup purified water in a medium saucepan over medium heat for the SYRUP; BRING mixture to a slow boil, stirring occasionally; ADD 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 2 tablespoons Metaxa brandy, the lemon and orange wedges, 3 cinnamon sticks, and the vanilla bean halves; REDUCE heat to medium-low; COOK mixture until mixture thickens slightly, about 15-20 minutes; REMOVE the cinnamon sticks, the lemon and orange peels and vanilla bean; SET aside.
- SLOWLY melt 2 sticks (1/2 lb.) butter in a small saucepan over low heat, for the BASTE; REDUCE heat to LOW once melted; BRUSH the bottom and sides of a 13" x 9" baking, using the the melted butter; PLACE oven rack in the center position; PREHEAT oven to 325°F ; COMBINE the following ingredients in a medium bowl: 2 cups coarsley ground walnuts, 1/2 cup coarsley ground blanched almonds, 1/4 cup superfine sugar, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves; POUR 3 tablespoons from the melted butter BASTE over mixture in bowl; MIX thoroughly.
- PLACE one phyllo PASTRY sheet into the bottom of buttered baking dish; BRUSH the top of the placed phyllo sheet with the melted butter BASTE; REPEAT process until 15 sheets of phyllo have been placed and basted; SPREAD 1/3 of the FILLING mixture (about 1 cup) evenly into the phyllo-lined baking dish (TUCK down any overlapping phyllo sheets neatly); REPEAT the layering process two more times, this time using 5 sheets phyllo; FINISH process using all remaining phyllo sheets for the top; BRUSH top layer generously with BASTE; TUCK in edges of phyllo so neatly contained.
- CAREFULLY slice pastry lengthwise through the top layer of pastry only to score, using a sharp knife, into 6 evenly spaced horizontal columns; SLICE 6 diagonal cuts across horizontal columns through the top layer of pastry only, into diamond shapes for form about 36 pieces; STUD the center of each piece with one whole clove if desired, for the BOUQUET-GARNISH; POUR the remaining BASTE over pastry; MIST top of pastry well with purified water through a spritzer bottle.
- BAKE for 1 hour, or until golden-brown in color; ALLOW to cool for 5 minutes; REMOVE the cloves from pastry if desired, or keep them as a decorative garnish (be sure to inform the consumers to remove the clove before eating!).
- RUN a knife through cut sections carefully once again, so the SYRUP can penetrate; POUR the SYRUP slowly over hot pastry; ALLOW pastry to set at least 3 hours, uncovered at room temperature (cover after 3 hours; DO NOT refrigerate as this dries out the pastry).
- ARRANGE on a serving platter if serving immediately; PLACE individual slices into sealable bags in a cool place (except refrigerator) if saving for later consumption.
- SERVE and ENJOY!