Baklavas. Need I say more? Ah, what can I say about them? They’re so fattening with all that butter and sugar yet they’re so scrumptious and addicting. This is the first baking recipe I did which my friends, family, and boyfriend approve of. My own grandfather, who was a picky eater, approved. I think that says something. A lot of people are afraid of baking baklavas because of the phyllo dough but don’t be scared. Yes, you have to work “fast” but we’re not talking speedy gonzalez fast. As long as you keep it covered with a moist towel and don’t run off to talk to a friend for 10 minutes, you’ll be good. Also, this is baklavas. If you try reducing the butter amount or trying to make it healthier, it won’t be the same.
These baklavas are time consuming since I do things my own way instead of taking the fast approach. Well, for starters, I hand chop all my walnuts. What now? Yes, hand chop. Am I crazy” Maybe but I love taking that approach. There’s just something about hand chopping that makes it feel “homemade.” I love when I hand chop it, you get big pieces and small pieces of the walnut. Of course, you could use a food processor to make it easier. I won’t get angry :). The greeks are probably going to hate me for this but I reduce the syrup amount by 1.5. I know, I know, baklavas taste the best when they’re doused in that syrup but then all you end up tasting is that sugar syrup! I want to be able to taste the filling that’s inside the dough with that hint of the sugar syrup in the background, not the other way around. Finally, after placing each layer of the dough into the baking dish, I press down gently on them to ensure they don’t fall apart when you take a bite of it or while cutting it. It will still happen but it won’t be as much if you press down.
This recipe is TIME CONSUMING so make sure you devote a couple hours to it. I promise you it will be worth it once you finish it. Just remember to keep your phyllo dough covered with a moist towel once you open it. I cannot stress this enough. And be gentle with it-this dough is very thin and delicate and will break very easily if you’re not careful. This is my recipe and I tweaked it a bit compared to other recipes, of course. Try it..you won’t regret it :). I know this is my second recipe in a row but who knows, maybe I’ll have a rant post tomorrow. We shall see what I come up with :p
- 1 box of Athens Phyllo Dough, thawed (you’ll end up using both packets of the dough inside the box)
- 1.5 pounds (approx 3 cups) of walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground clove (I just eyeballed it)
- Zest of a whole lemon (my secret ingredient 😉 )
- 1 stick of butter, melted
- Combine everything except for the butter and dough in a mixing bowl.
- Brush a 12″x17″ baking dish with butter. Place 10 sheets of phyllo dough on bottom, making sure to butter each phyllo dough after placing it in the baking dish.
- Sprinkle 1/3 of the mixture and place 7 more buttered phyllo sheets into the pan. Sprinkle another 1/3 of the mixture, another 7 buttered sheets, and finally, the rest of the walnut mixture
- Finish it up by placing 16 more buttered phyllo sheets and brush it with the remaining butter once done
- Cut the baklavas into shapes of your choice. I usually do mine in small rectangles but you can do diamonds or squares
- Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 45-60 minutes or until the to is golden brown
- Cool the baklava slightly and pour the warm sugar syrup over it (recipe below)
SUGAR SYRUP INGREDIENTS:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoon honey
- juice of half a lemon
- Combine all the ingredients into a sauce pan and mix
- Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat, and gently simmer for 5-6 minutes
- Set aside and pour over the slightly cooled baklavas. Make sure the syrup is still warm before pouring it
Serve and enjoy! Now that wasn’t difficult, was it?