Baklava, a delectable and iconic pastry with roots in the Middle East, is a harmonious blend of crisp layers of phyllo dough, butter, and a rich filling of finely chopped nuts, often enhanced with a hint of cinnamon and sugar. This indulgent treat showcases the artistry of layering delicate sheets of phyllo to create a sumptuous dessert that transcends cultural boundaries. As each layer bakes to golden perfection, the baklava is then generously drizzled with a sweet syrup, infusing it with flavors of honey, sugar, and a touch of citrus. The result is a dessert that embodies both elegance and irresistible sweetness, making baklava a beloved and timeless delicacy enjoyed across the globe. Whether served at festive gatherings, family celebrations, or as a delightful accompaniment to a leisurely afternoon tea, baklava stands as a testament to the culinary prowess and cultural richness that defines this exquisite pastry.
What You Need
For the Filling:
2 cups finely chopped nuts (walnuts, pistachios, or a mix)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the Phyllo Layers:
1 package (16 ounces) phyllo dough, thawed
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
For the Syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
What To Do
Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C). Make sure the phyllo dough is completely thawed before you start.
In a bowl, mix together the chopped nuts, sugar, and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
Unroll the phyllo dough and cover it with a damp kitchen towel to prevent it from drying out. Place one sheet of phyllo dough in the bottom of a greased baking dish (usually 9×13 inches). Brush the sheet with melted butter. Repeat this process, layering sheets and brushing each with butter until you have about 8-10 sheets.
Sprinkle a layer of the nut mixture over the buttered phyllo sheets. Add another layer of phyllo dough, brush with butter, and sprinkle with the nut mixture. Repeat until all the nut mixture is used, finishing with a top layer of phyllo sheets.
Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the baklava into diamond or square shapes. This is easier to do before baking.
Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until the baklava is golden brown and crisp.
While the baklava is baking, combine water, sugar, honey, cinnamon stick, vanilla extract, and lemon juice in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and allow the syrup to cool.
Once the baklava is out of the oven and still hot, pour the cooled syrup evenly over the hot baklava. Allow it to absorb the syrup and cool completely before serving.
Enjoy your homemade baklava! This sweet and nutty pastry is perfect for special occasions or as a delightful treat with your favorite cup of coffee or tea.