Saturday, April 5, 2014


makes about 36 pieces
I think the Greeks have a word for a cake that is perfection in taste and that word is Baklava, magnificent flaky little Phyllo cakes layered in chopped walnuts and drenched in a sublime honey/vanilla syrup. 
                                                                               Prep time:  30 minutes
                                                                               Bake time:  45 minutes
                                                                               Total time:   1 hour 15 minutes


1 package Phyllo dough
4 cups chopped walnuts or pecans
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1-½ stick butter, melted
2 cups honey
½ cups water
½ cups Sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract


¼ cup finely chopped shelled pistachio nuts


prepare the chopped walnut filling:

Place the whole, unshelled nuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the nuts are reduced to a fine chop.  Place the chopped nuts and the cinnamon in a large, resealable plastic bag and toss together until the cinnamon is evenly distributed. Set aside.

prepare the baking pan:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. If refrigerated, remove the phyllo dough package and allow the unopened phyllo to come to room temperature before attempting to use it, about 1 hour.  Most boxes of phyllo contain 2 wax paper packages of phyllo sheets; this recipe will only use 1 of these, so you may return the other to the box and to the refrigerator for later use. 

3. Open one of the packages and lay out the phyllo sheets flat on the work surface in front of you, remember phyllo dries out and soon becomes unusable so when working with the phyllo sheets, only remove those sheets you immediately need and keep the other sheets covered by wax paper and a damp cloth
4. Spray a 9x13x2-inch rectangular glass or metal baking pan with butter flavoured cooking spray or thoroughly butter it. Commercial sheets of phyllo will generally fit this size pan, if the sheets are significantly bigger trim them to fit with a sharp knife.

build the baklava:

1.  Lay 2 sheets of phyllo flat in the baking pan and thoroughly brush with some of the melted butter, press lightly into the pan. Repeat this process twice more to form the bottom layer of the baklava, in the end you’ll have six sheets of phyllo in the pan, three of the sheets buttered.

2.  Sprinkle enough of the chopped walnuts to thoroughly cover the phyllo.  Place two more sheets of phyllo on top of the walnuts and thoroughly brush with some more of the melted butter, pressing this layer lightly into the pan. Repeat this process until you are out of walnuts or until you have only 4 sheets of phyllo left.

3. Top the last nut covered layer with 4 more sheets of phyllo, buttering each sheet as you lay it on and pressing each layer lightly into the pan; ending with a buttered top. 

4.  Cut a diagonal diamond pattern in the baklava using a very sharp knife.

bake the baklava:

Bake the baklava in the middle of your preheated oven for about 45 minutes, or until the baklava is very golden brown.

prepare the baklava syrup:

Meanwhile, while the baklava is baking, combine the butter, honey, water, sugar, and vanilla in a medium sized saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to low to keep it warm.

combine the baklava with the syrup:

When the baklava has finished baking and is golden brown remove it from the oven and drizzle half the syrup evenly all over the top. Allow this portion of the syrup to be absorbed for a minute or two then drizzle on a little more until you think it’s thoroughly moistened. Allow the baklava to cool, uncovered, for several hours. 


Once the baklava has cooled thoroughly retrace the diagonal cuts to insure the diamonds of baklava are separated.  Once you've done that carefully remove the individual diamonds of baklava from the pan garnished with the finely chopped pistachio nuts and serve.

1 comment:

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