Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Best Baklava

I saw someone post a recipe link on here for Baklava, and thought I would share my recipe. I've oohed many people with this, and although it might *look* complicated, it really isn't too bad. Just make sure to read through the directions completely before starting. This is my FAVORITE dessert/treat during the holidays!

Ingredients you will need:
1 lb walnuts - Finely Chopped (I used pecans, they taste WAY better, but a bit more expensive. Then, I put them in my food processor and chop until they basically turn into nut dust.)
1/2 C. Sugar
2 tsp Cinnamon
1.5 C. Butter (3 sticks), Melted
1 Package Frozen Phyllo Dough (16 oz) Thawed
1 C. Sugar
1 C. Water
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice (I never have this stuff on hand, so I don't use it)
1 C. Honey (Net weight 12 oz.)
1/2 tsp Vanilla

The steps:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Combine and set aside walnuts, 1/2 cup sugar, and cinnamon
Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the bottom and sides of a 10x14" (about 1-2" deep) pan with melted butter.
Open the phyllo dough and layer 6 whole leafs (or 12 half leafs) in the pan, buttering each layer as you go. (The edges will extend over the side.)
Spread 1 cup of the walnut mixture.
If your phyllo dough comes in full sheets, cut the remaining phyllo dough in half.
Layer 8 half sheets -- butter each layer. Each sheet will be an inch or so short, so stagger the sheets from corner to corner to cover the whole pan. I use a pattern so I don't forget how many layers I've put down, but it's even easier if you have a friend help!
Spread 1 cup of the walnut mixture.
Repeat 8 sheets and walnut mixture twice. You will end up with 4 layers of nuts.
Layer the remaining half sheets on top -- butter each layer.
Brush the top with the remaining butter.
Trim the edges off.
Cut halfway through the layers, into small pieces, usually cut into triangles or slanted rectangle shapes. This is done now since it will be very fragile after it's been baked. Go here to see a diagram of how to cut it.

Bake 1 hour or until golden brown.
15 minutes before the baklava should be done, mix 1 cup sugar, water, and lemon juice in a sauce pan.
Cook sauce over a medium heat, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat, add the honey and vanilla, and stir until well blended.
Remove the baklava from the oven and finish cutting through the layers.
Pour the sauce over the hot baklava.
Cool. Let it sit for at least 24 hours (lightly covered -- but not in the refrigerator)

A nice way to serve individual pieces is to put each one into a muffin cup that has been partially flattened.

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