Baklava

Baklava by Wendy IngorvaiaBaklava is a rich, sweet pastry, originating in the Middle East, that is made up of layers of filo with chopped nuts held together with syrup or honey.  It can be found everywhere from the Balkans to Central Asia, and has earned popularity for being not just delicious but easy to make.  Here’s a recipe I found online for making some yourself:

Ingredients:

1 pound chopped mixed nuts

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pound phyllo dough

1 cup melted butter

1 cup white sugar

1 cup water

½ cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and butter a 9×13 inch baking dish

Toss cinnamon and nuts together

Unroll phyllo, cut the whole stack in half to fit the dish, and cover it with a damp cloth while assembling the baklava to keep it from drying out

Place two sheets of phyllo in the bottom of the prepared dish, generously brush it with butter and sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the nut mixture on top

Repeat this in layers until all ingredients are used (should be around 6 sheets of phyllo)

With a sharp knife, cut the baklava into four long rows, then nine times diagonally to make 36 diamond shapes

Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes until golden and crisp

While the baklava is baking, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring it to a boil

Stir in honey, vanilla and lemon zest, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes

Remove the baklava from the oven and immediately spoon the syrup over it