Here’s something to file under “Fancy Foods that are Easy to Make”! Baklava (not to be confused with the ski mask Balaclava) is a Turkish delight made from buttery filo pastry, chopped nuts, and honey. It’s an explosion of flavors, and is light and rich at the same time. One of my favorite pastries ever… and so easy to make at home, thanks to the availability of ready-to-use filo (phyllo).
Traditionally, it’s made with chopped pistachios, but I’ve made this with walnuts, almonds and pecans, so it’s really up to you. Experiment! You know you want to.
1 package filo dough (16 oz.)
1 lb. chopped nuts- use pistachios for traditional Baklava
2 sticks butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey
Preheat oven to 350F. Generously butter a 9×13″ pan.
Chop nuts, sprinkle with cinnamon, and mix lightly. Set this aside.
Get your filo dough. Unroll, cut to fit pan. Now work this way: put two sheets of filo in the pan, brush with melted butter. Repeat until you have around 8 sheets layered. Evenly sprinkle with around 3 tablespoons of your nut mixture. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts– and so on. The top layer should be about 8 sheets deep.
Cut into diamond or square shapes using a very sharp knife. On a hot day, I’ll chill the raw Baklava for around 15 minutes first for easier cutting.
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until it’s golden and crisp.
While it’s baking, make syrup: boil sugar and water together until melted. Add vanilla and honey, and simmer for around 15 minutes.
When baked, remove Baklava from the oven, and immediately pour the delicious syrup over it. Let cool.