In case you’ve never heard of baklava, it’s a yummy Greek dessert that’s made by layering dough, butter, and nuts into a wondrous flaky thing, before drenching it all in honey. If you’ve never tasted baklava before, you’re in for a treat.
Baklava is a beast to make, but it’s totally worth the effort. I had had baklava a few times before, and it seemed simple enough. It’s my husband’s favorite, so I decided to make it for him. It’s just layering, what could go wrong?
Lots. Lots could go wrong. For example, working with phyllo dough is like working with wet tissue paper (another reason to just buy the dough, unless you are a glutton for punishment). I also discovered while working this that I hate the smell of walnuts.
But making this was a labor of love. I was rewarded for all my hard work when everyone loved it. My husband devoured it, and then I took it to rehearsal, and one person ate SIX pieces. That, and people were just standing around picking the flaky bits out of the decimated pan. I would call that a success.
- 1 pound pecans or walnuts (or both)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 lb package of phyllo dough
- 1 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 12 ounces honey
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
First, finely chop the nuts. (I recommend a food processor.) Make the filling by mixing together the nuts, sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside.
Next, get everything ready before unwrapping the phyllo dough. Brush the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan with melted butter. Unwrap the phyllo dough, and lay it on a clean surface under a damp towel. Place a sheet of dough in the pan. Brush with melted butter, and repeat until you’ve done five sheets of dough.
Sprinkle one-quarter of the nut mixture into the pan. Cover with butter and dough as above, and continue adding nuts every five sheets until they are gone and the pan is full. (You should have four thin layers of nuts.) Finally, using a very sharp knife, cut the layers horizontally, vertically, and diagonally, until each piece is triangle-shaped.
Bake at 315 F until golden brown (usually about 55-65 minutes). While the baklava is baking, make the honey syrup by warming the sugar, lemon juice, and honey in a small saucepan until viscous and fully combined. Remove the baklava from oven, and coat in the hot honey syrup. Allow to cool. Enjoy!