Alan’s Baklava

I started making baklava in about 1980 when I learned the technique from a Lebanese co-worker (pronounces it Ba-lay-wa). I refined my recipe with Turkish, Greek and other versions. I made a batch that someone said was like my Romanian great-grandmother’s. The result is now my own pan-Mediterranean delicacy.

Makes about 3-4 pounds (36 slices)

There are several shortcuts in this recipe. You do not have to tell
anyone how easy it is. My last batch was 1 hour start to finish.

Ingredients:

1 pkg. frozen Phyllo dough, defrosted according to label instructions
1 can Crisco butter-flavored spray or 3 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups chopped Walnuts
1 cup chopped Almonds
cup chopped Pistachios
1 tbsp Vanilla
5 tbsp Amaretto
1 cups dark Honey (about 1 lb.)
1 tsp. Pomegranate paste
1 Tbsp. Rose water
2 tbsp whole Cloves
1 tbsp ground Cinnamon
1 cup granulated Sugar
1 tsp grated nutmeg
Large glass pan (10x16 is good)
Kitchen parchment

Preparation:

  1. In a saucepan, add Honey, Sugar, Vanilla, Amaretto, pomegranate paste and cloves.
  2. Heat in a double-boiler stirring frequently. Watch it because boil-overs are particularly messy.
  3. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, strain, and allow to cool.
  5. Mix all nuts together with remaining cup of Sugar.

Assembly:
(Either use butter-spray or brush with melted butter)

Your phyllo must be completely defrosted [follow package directions] or it will be difficult to work with.

  1. Line your pan with parchment. Spray with Crisco.
  2. Unroll phyllo and lay flat. Lay slightly damp towel on it to prevent it becoming brittle.
  3. Move first sheet to your work area. Generously brush with butter
  4. Lay the sheet into the pan.
  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 at least 4 more times.
  6. Butter the top sheet. Spread about 1/3 of nut mixture on top. Press down. Butter the top of the nuts before continuing.
  7. Repeat steps 4 through 6.
  8. Complete with 4 to 8 layers of phyllo.
  9. With straight edge and razor blade, score the top in your cutting pattern. Diamonds are traditional.
  10. Pre-heat oven to 425. Bake for about 50 minutes. (About 25 minutes if butter used). Watch near the end to be sure it is not burning.

Serving:

  1. Remove from oven and immediately pour honey mixture over.
  2. Allow to cool slightly and then slice. I have found that a pizza
    cutter works extremely well, when completing the cuts started by the scoring.

Serve hot, cool, or at room temperature.

May be found in an International or Middle Eastern market.

Baklava

The dark areas are not burnt. I am a better baker than photographer. Thought the batch turned out so pretty that I needed a picture.

More great recipes at http://food.barasch.com
Revised 21 Dec 2002