Baklava

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A few years ago I took a Greek cooking class over a four week period. Every week we'd hang out with a group of people and the instructors would take us through a course in greek cooking. One week appetizers, another greek lunch etc... This is from the dessert class.

Baklava is of course the nutty, syrupy, flaky, delicious pastry that's known the world over. It's made all throughout the balkans and the middle east with various regions using different nuts, slightly different syrups and even different doughs. For this one I'm using walnuts (though the original recipe is posted) and a citrusy syrup, you can adjust as necessary.

Ingredients

There are two stages to the process.

The Baklava

  • 1/2 lb. Almonds, ground fine-ish - Grind them fairly fine, leave a few bigger chunks if you like a mealier crunch.
  • 1/2 lb. Pecans, ground fine-ish
  • up to 1lb. of Butter
  • 1 pkg. Phyllo Dough

When making the example here I was using some leftover phyllo after making a box and a half worth of tiropitakia so I made smaller square pan worth and used roughly 1/2 lb. Walnuts instead.

Syrup

  • 1 Cup Water
  • 2 Lemons
  • 3 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 1 Sliced Orange
  • 1 tsp honey


Method

Build it

  • Preheat oven to 325F
  • Melt half of your butter to start (no sense making more than you need)
  • Butter bottom/sides 9"x13" pan
  • Lay down a sheet of phyllo, overlapping the sides of the pan where required then brush with butter
  • Rotate pan 90 degrees and repeat.
  • Do this 5 or 6 times for the bottom crust.
  • Sprinkle handful of nuts across top layer
  • cover with more phyllo and butter
  • Repeat until nuts are gone
  • do another 5-6 layers of just butter/phyllo on top for a top crust.
  • Cut through the top layers with a shap knife to keep it from puffing up too much, sprinkle a few nuts overtop then bake for 50-60 mins.

Syrup Time

  • Boil water, sugar, citrus and cinamon for 10 mins, no longer.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the honey.
  • Pour over baked baklava
  • Ladle the syrup over the baklava
  • Slice into small squares or triangles (it's uber-rich and most people don't want more than a small square)

Freezing

  • Can be frozen before baking (Thaw fully then bake)
  • Can also be frozen after full process but flavour isn't quite as good.