I’m told that word can be used for absolutely no reason, so there it is. OPA! Today being absolutely freezing and snowy, I decided we needed some warm baklava to munch on, while we lounged in our jammies. This was a bit of an adventurous decision, as I have never made baklava before, but I must admit, it wasn’t too hard! It calls for very few ingredients, it’s time that needs to be readily available to make this gooey goodness full of honey.
After getting the nuts roasted and chopped, the longest part of assembling this dessert was the layering of the phylo dough. So- if you’ve never heard or worked with this type of dough, it can be a wee bit tricky. However, no need to worry about making phyllo, it can be bought in the freezer section at your local supermarket. Phyllo dough or otherwise known as leaf dough, is extremely thin and fragile and should be used immediately after opening the package. It dries out pretty quick, as I found out near the end of assembling the baklava, and only later to find out that I needed to cover it with a damp towel in between uses. Oh well. Hail to Phyllo!
This is what you’ll need:
1-16 oz package of phyllo dough ( the edges will need to be trimmed to fit a 9×13 baking dish)
1 stick of melted unsalted butter
1.5 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 lb. walnuts (I with about 6 oz of sliced almonds)
1 strip of lemon rind
1 c. sugar ( I used about 1/2 c. pure cane sugar & 1/2 c. raw sugar)- the raw sugar has a bit more of a molasses flavor
1 c. water
1 c. honey
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
** a bit on the “wild” side, I did add about 1.5 tsp. of fresh grapefruit juice to the mix. I like to shake things up a bit!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Toast the walnuts in dry skillet until you can smell them. Place in a food processor along with the cinnamon and ground clove, and pulse until nuts are finely crushed.
Grease a 9×13 pan, and place one layer of phyllo at the bottom. Brush the phyllo with the melted butter, and then add another layer of phyllo, and brush with more butter. Continue layering until you have layered about 7 sheets of phyllo.
Sprinkle 1/4 of the nut mixture evenly over the top. Repeat the process of the phyllo/butter layering again, but this time only use about 5 sheets of phyllo. Continue the layering of the 5 sheets of phyllo and 1/4 of the mixture of walnuts. Finish off with 7 layers of buttered phyllo. Be sure to butter the top layer too!
Using a very sharp knife, cut your baklava into triangles. Be sure to trim away any ragged pieces around the edges at this time. Place in the oven, and bake for about 50 minutes, until golden brown.
To make your syrup, combine all the ingredients and bring to a low boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer about 10-15 minutes. Allow the syrup to cool before pouring baklava.
Being overly anxious to try it right out of the oven, I decided to partake before allowing the baklava to soak the syrup, and well…next time I’ll let it work it’s magic. Best eaten after an hour or so.
Opa! and enjoy!