I’ve botched baklava before. It’s hard to pinpoint my mistake, as I was in fourth grade at the time, completing an assignment as part of a project on Greece. My mother and I got the recipe from the owner of a local greek restaurant (unfortunately, we didn’t have the advantage of Epicurious or AllRecipes back then) and I’m afraid something was lost in translation.
The baklava was more phyllo brick than sticky, flaky pastry.
This time around, I had my redemption. Sweet, sweet, sticky, flaky redemption.
several sheets of phyllo dough (one package should do)
3 cups walnuts
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cup melted butter
First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare the filling by combining the brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts in a food processor. Set aside.
Take sheets of thawed phyllo and begin layering them in a greased pan. You have to work somewhat fast here because the phyllo dries out VERY quickly. I also covered what I wasn’t using with a damp paper towel. The phylo sheets should be layered on the bottom so they hang over the edge of the pan. I used about 6-7 sheets for the bottom. When you are done layering, you’ll fold the overhanging phyllo over the top. Brush a generous layer of melted butter on the phyllo, sprinkle a layer of the filling, and cover with another couple sheets of phyllo.
Continue layering this way until you run out of filling. Fold the overhanging phyllo over the last layer, brush with butter, add a few additional layers of phyllo and more butter.
This part’s important: cut the baklava before you put it in the oven. I did diagonal cuts:
Bake the baklava for about 30 minutes. While it cooks, prepare the syrup by bringing the honey, water and sugar to a boil, and then simmering for about 5-7 minutes. Let cool and pour over the hot baklava right when it comes out of the oven.
So good. So “Baklavian.”