Recipe by KK
This recipe was published in the January 2010 issue of Bon Appetit magazine and it inspired me to give baklava a try. It also helped that I had a package of phyllo dough in the freezer that was crying out to be used. Needless to say, this recipe makes a gorgeous and flavorful pan of pastry. Minneola oranges (aka Honeybells) are now ripe here in Florida, and their juice gave the sauce a rich perfume. The orange-cardamom combination also offset the rich nuttiness of the pistachios perfectly. Heaven in a 13 x 9 pan! The only hitch in the recipe for me was that the phyllo I had was larger than the recipe called for, so I let some sheets come up the sides of the pan a little and folded the rest over and spread a little butter on them. The edges got a little thicker than the center, but were extra crispy and wonderful as a result! Be sure to cover the phyllo with plastic wrap and a damp towel while working with it, and if it tears or breaks, don't worry about it. I felt like mine was a messy patchwork quilt, but it didn't show when it was done and looked very professional. The article that was with the recipe suggested using the back of the hands to lift and move the phyllo, and it was a great suggestion and made it much easier to work with.
- 1 3⁄4 cups sugar
- 1 1⁄4 cups fresh orange juice
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 12 ounces shelled pistachios, lightly toasted (about 3 cups)
- 8 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted (2 sticks)
- 1 lb phyllo dough (30 14x9 inch sheets)
Directions See How It's Made
- Simmer 1 3/4 cups sugar and orange juice in saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil over medium heat until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 8 minutes. Add cardamom and cool syrup.
- Place nuts and 2 Tbsp sugar in processor. Pulse until most of the nuts are finely ground (the largest pieces should be the size of small peas.) Mix nuts, 6 Tbsp sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish with some of the melted butter. Place a sheet of phyllo in the dish and brush with melted butter. Repeat with 9 more sheets of phyllo and melted butter.
- Sprinkle half of the nut mixture evenly over the phyllo. Top with a sheet of phyllo and brush with melted butter. Repeat with 9 more sheets of phyllo and melted butter.
- Sprinkle with rest of the nut mixture over the phyllo, then top with 10 more sheets of phyllo and melted butter.
- Using a sharp knife, cut diagonally through the top phyllo layer from the top left corner to the bottom right corner. Cut top layer of phyllo into 1-inch-wide rows parallel to both sides of the first cut. Turn pan and cut rows about 2 1/4 inches wide, forming diamond pattern.
- Bake baklava until golden brown and crisp, 50-55 minutes. Drizzle syrup evenly over hot baklava. Cool in pan on rack. Recut baklava along lines all the way through layers. Baklava can be made two days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.