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Baklava > recipe October 18, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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There are thousands of recipes for baklava, and, in spite of its daunting procedure, it is a simple and straightforward recipe that just takes organization and patience.

2 pounds finely chopped pecans
1½ tablespoons cinnamon
1½ teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1½ pounds unsalted butter, clarified
2 pounds phyllo dough, thawed for 2 hours if frozen

For the syrup:
5 cups sugar
3 cups water
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons honey

To make the sugar syrup
In a pan, combine the sugar, water, lemon juice, cinnamon stick and honey. Simmer it, stirring, for 10 minutes or until it is thickened and just reaching the soft ball stage. Strain the syrup and let it cool. The syrup may be made one week in advance and kept covered and chilled.

To make the nut mixture
1. In a large bowl, combine the nuts and the spices.
2. Brush the bottom of a 9×12-inch baking pan with the clarified butter. Lay two sheets of phyllo dough on the bottom of the pan and brush the top sheet with the butter. Continue this layering by two sheets at a time until you have a bottom layer of eight sheets. (Keep the unused phyllo dough covered with a damp kitchen towel while you work so it does not dry out.)
3. Sprinkle 1 cup of the nut mixture over the top layer of phyllo dough and cover the nuts with two more sheets of phyllo. Brush the top sheet with butter and sprinkle 1 cup of the nut mixture on top. Repeat the layering procedure like this until you have five or six layers. End the layering as you began with another eight sheets on the top, each second sheet brushed with butter.
4. Brush the top of the eight-sheet layer with butter. Let it stand for 10 minutes to facilitate slicing.
5. With a sharp knife, cut the baklava completely through into 15 rectangles (five strips on the long side and three on the short side) and cut each rectangle in half diagonally to make triangles.
6. Spritz the baklava with water to keep the edges from curling and bake it in the middle of a preheated 300-degree oven for 1½ hours, or until it is just golden.
7. While the baklava is still hot, pour the sugar syrup over the baklava, coating it well. Serve warm or cold.

Note: The baklava may be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week, covered and chilled.

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