I know I promised a few posts back to start posting less sweets and more of the savory and more healthy things I make. But come on…it’s still the holidays. I figured I still had a few days grace period before the new year starts and it’s time to get back into the groove of eating more than just Christmas cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Baklava is something I’ve always loved. Seeing it in the stores and bakery cases, it always looks so delicious, golden, gooey, glistening with honey syrup…mmm, good. It also seemed incredibly complicated to make…with all if its layers. But my friends, this baklava is very few ingredients, and is as easy as taking store bought filo dough and simply layering the pieces with butter and nuts. The hardest part about making baklava is waiting for it to cool down long enough for you to put a big piece in your mouth without burning yourself.
It’s worth the wait.
For the baklava:
1 box filo dough, thawed
4 cups chopped nuts (whatever kind you like, I used half walnuts and half pecans)
1 tbs cinnamon
1-1/2 to 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
Combine the nuts and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside. Next open up your filo dough package and take one sheet out and brush it with the melted butter. Then place sheet on a cookie tray with sides. If you have to scrunch the dough a little bit to make it fit that is ok. But you want the filo sheets to fit comfortably on the tray. And basically you just layer the sheets. Filo, butter, filo, butter. After about 6 sheets, sprinkle half of the nuts evenly over the filo. Then continue on with the filo, butter alternating until you get about 6 more sheets down. Then sprinkle the rest of the nuts. Then back to filo, butter, filo, butter, until you have used up the rest of the filo. Be sure to end with brushing butter on top.
Next you need to gently cut the filo into squares or diamonds with a very sharp knife. After doing so, place the baklava in the oven at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Next it’s time to spoon over the honey syrup.
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs vanillla
2 cups honey
1 stick butter
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Make sure everything is well combine. Cook for a minute or two then remove from the heat. Then spoon half of the mixture all over the cooked baklava. Give it a minute or two to let the syrup soak into the baklava. Then drizzle the rest of the syrup over the top. Let the baklava sit out at room temperature to dry slightly and become perfectly sticky. But I suggest taking a big piece for yourself as soon as you finish it off with the syrup. You worked hard on this dish, afterall.