Sunday, January 9, 2011

Baklava (Turkish or Greek Layered Pastry)

I have fond memories of this being made by a Greek friend of family, Stacia. It was always a treat when she made it. This was adapted from her recipe. This may actually have originated in Turkey and later became part of the Greek cuisine. This makes a large number of pieces. You can use a smaller pan and make it with 1/2 the ingredients.


1 pound phyllo dough
1/2 - 3/4  pound melted butter
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 pound ground nuts (pecan, walnuts, pistachios and almonds work well)


1 1/2 cups honey  (or you may use 1 cup xylitol, sugar or other type of sweetener and 1/2 cup honey)
1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix nuts, cinnamon and nutmeg. Brush 10x15 inch pan with butter. Place sheet of phyllo dough in pan and brush with butter- or you may use a 9x13 inch pan and place sheet of dough in pan and drape over the side while you paint one part with butter. Then turn the other part of the sheet over into the pan and paint again with butter. Do not saturate each layer with butter- it only needs a light brushing. Also, do not worry about wrinkles- this will help make it more flaky. (Until you get faster about putting it together, keep phyllo dough covered with a damp cloth while making this so it does not dry out.) Repeat 5 times to create your base. Sprinkle some nut mixture on the 6th sheet/layer. Alternate sheets of phyllo, butter and nut mixture in layers.  Butter the last 6 sheets of phyllo, making top layer of baklava. Brush some of the remaining butter over the top. Cut into diamond shape pieces- not quite to the bottom so the syrup is able to soak into the layers and not lay on the bottom later. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until golden brown.  Meanwhile, bring syrup to boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes. Pour hot syrup over pastry. Cool and then cut completely.

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