Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Last year, I didn't make baklava.  Because the year before I had spent several batches of phyllo dough and time trying to find "my favorite recipe," and then when we moved, somehow this recipe got boxed up in storage instead of making the journey with me.  FAIL.  Seriously.  Yay for a blog that will make it so that will NEVER happen again!  I was overjoyed to find that it didn't get swallowed up by all things in storage, never to be found.  Sometimes if we have a little faith, everything turns out okay.  Now if I could somehow call Bon Jovi and make sure he is, in fact, alive and well, life would be bliss.

I have been excited to make this since realizing it was once again possible!  My sister-in-law asked if it was okay for me to make baklava since I am Italian and it's Greek.  ??  Any thoughts?  I responded with, "Well, I am only 1/4 Italian, so that makes it okay right?"  I also think it's okay to make anything at Christmastime. 

I might add a little more cinnamon next time and a little less lemon juice, which I will reflect in the recipe.  I have mentioned before that I don't love a ton of overwhelming spices so you'll find the spice content in this is pretty simple.  I hope you like it as much as I do.

1 lb phyllo dough
1 ½ cups butter, melted (3 sticks)
3 cups finely chopped walnuts or almonds or a combination
¼ cup sugar
1 T cinnamon
¼ tsp all spice

1 ½ cups sugar
1  ⅓ cup water
2 peels of orange (about 1 inch long and ½ inch wide)
⅓  cup honey
2 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325.  Butter a 9x13 inch pan, mix nuts, cinnamon, sugar and all spice together.  
Place  a layer of phyllo dough in pan and brush carefully with butter.  
Add another layer and brush with butter, repeat until there are 5 layers.  Sprinkle with ¼ of the nut mixture.  
Repeat laying 5 layers and butter on each then nuts until it’s been done 4 times and nuts are gone.  (On the first couple layers on top of the nuts, you kind of have to blot the butter on a t first rather than brushing, then the next couple layers it moves around less and you can start brushing again.)   Add 6 layers to the top, buttering each.  Using a sharp knife, score top ABOUT ¼- ½ inch deep by cutting diagonally to make diamond shapes.  
Bake at 325 for 30 minutes.  Reduce heat to 300 and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until golden brown.  About 15 minutes before baklava is done baking, combine syrup ingredients in saucepan and bring to boil,  (be careful this boils over FAST!) reduce heat and continue a slow boil until candy thermometer reaches 220. 
 Remove baklava from oven 
and immediately pour syrup over top.  Let cool 4 hours, cut along score lines and serve.

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