How to make AWESOME BaklavaPosted: September 27, 2008
This is a very easy recipe that no one will believe you made yourself. Their are only two issues that I can think of: first the ingredients are expensive (honey and walnuts cost a lot) and second you need to wait at least three days before you can eat it. So for our family it is a special once in a while treat. Enjoy. Ingredients for Mixture:
- 1 bag of walnuts (about a pound)
- 1 tsp Cinnamon (I use a big pinch and don’t bother to measure)
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- Fillo (Phyllo) Dough (buy in the frozen dessert section of grocery store) Take out of the freezer and put in fridge to defrost the day before making this.
- 1/2 to 1 stick of melted butter (I like a lot of layers so I use more)
you will need a pan to make this in and something to brush the butter on with. You will also need a very sharp knife.
Ingredients for Sauce:
- about a tsp of Vanilla (I just use a splash)
- couple small splashes of lemon juice
- a cup of sugar
- a cup of water
- a cup of honey
Vary these amounts depending on if you like your Baklava a little wetter or drier
First I put the walnuts and cinnamon into a food processor and make sure everything is nice and ground up, then add sugar. See image for the best texture.
I wanted to take pictures of the layering steps but I was home alone and didn’t have time to spare for the camera. This is the tough part as the Fillo dough dries VERY quickly. I find it is best to only open the package right as you are about to start making the layers. They are long rectangles and I work easier with smaller square pieces so I use a pair of kitchen shears and cut the strips in half keeping the second half wrapped up in plastic until I need to use it. You don’t need to do this.
You start layering, very carefully the Fillo dough using butter to hold the layers together. The dough is thinner than paper so you will need to lay down SEVERAL layers of dough for each layer in the baklava.
I build up the dough layers until I feel it is thick enough to support weight and then put a layer of the walnut on top. You just keep doing this until you use up all of your supplies building it like you would a lasagna.
When you are about to put the walnut on in a couple more layers of dough I start to make sure that I have some of the dough go up the side of the pan. Then I put the walnut down and add a couple more layers of dough. Then I fold those upturned layers down over the edges of the dough and use the butter to lock the little edges down. This helps to interlock the different layers together and make sure that each layer of dough is really connected to the one under it not just floating on the walnut layer. It makes it easier to cut at the end and it prevents shifting when you are running a knife through it.
When you have all of your layers assembled cut the baklava in parallel diagonal lines as shown above with a very thin sharp knife. Try, as much as you can, not to shift anything around. The last couple cuts can be hard so take your time.
I cook mine at 350 degrees for 45 minute to an hour. Each time is a little different as the layers may be thinner or thicker…just check in on it and take it out when the top has puffed up a little and is a nice golden color.
While it is cooking place all of the sauce ingredients into a pot and simmer until everything is well dissolved and has a watery texture (honey gets easier to stir as it gets warmer.) I then turn the heat off and let it cool and thicken up until the baklava is cooked. When the baklava is done cooking you slowly pore the sauce over it, try to make sure that the top is completely coated so you will have a nice honey taste on top.
Here is the hard part, you need to let it cool completely then lightly cover it and let it sit for three days to a week. Everything needs to really soak in. The honey helps preserve the desert and prevent it from going bad as quickly as other foods.
After waiting a few days you can then dish it up and serve it. Put the rest in Tupperware and you will be able to eat this for at least another two weeks. This is very rich and tasty. Your family will love it or you will make a fortune at your next bake sale. James begs for it at least once a year and we have never found a pre-made store version hat tastes quite as good.
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