I mentioned to a friend that I knew how to make Baklava. As it turns out her husband loves it and she had asked if I could help her out with a recipe. I thought it was best to keep this recipe simple since it is their first time making it. These Baklava are not too sweet or syrupy. They somewhat melt in your mouth too and are not too dense in texture. You will find yourself having a hard time to eat just one.
But keep in mind that Baklava comes in many shapes, flavors, and sizes. I have had them with different flavored syrups, a variety of nuts, and many different spices added. If you are to give this recipe a try – as I know my friend will- I suggest you try it once like this, and then the next time change it up. Maybe add pistachios instead of walnuts, or lemon instead of orange. Be creative, but first and foremost have fun with it!
1/3 cup of Sugar
1/3 cup of Water
2/3 cup of Honey
2 strips of Orange Zest
1 tbsp of Rosewater
1 ½ cups of Walnuts, chopped *
¼ cup of Brown Sugar
1 tsp of Ground Cinnamon
¼ tsp of Ground Cardamom
1 tsp of Orange Zest
Phyllo Dough (at least 18 sheets or more), thawed
8 oz of Butter, melted
First, place all your ingredients for your syrup (except the Rosewater) in a 2 quart pot and bring to a simmer. Continue until the sugar is dissolved and your syrup begins to foam up. Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool remove the orange zest strips and stir in the Rosewater; let it all mingle together until your baklava is ready.
Next, place your butter in a pan over low heat and preheat your oven to 325 degrees. In a bowl mix together your walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, and orange zest; and set aside. When your butter is melted, remove from the heat and skim the foam that may have formed across the top.
Then, to assemble; have a 9 x 12 baking dish ready and get your phyllo dough out and cover with a damp cloth. (The phyllo dries out quickly and sticks, therefore this step is really necessary.) With a pastry brush dipped into the melted butter brush a nice layer along the inside of your pan. Lay a single sheet of phyllo dough along the bottom of the pan (you can trim if necessary to fit, and be sure to recover you phyllo with cloth when doing so). Brush the phyllo with an even amount of the melted butter and repeat by covering it with another layer of phyllo. Repeat this for at least 6 layers. Sprinkle evenly a heaping 1/3 cup of your walnut mixture over the phyllo. Repeat with 6 more layers of phyllo on top, buttering in between. On top of that, another layer of the walnut mixture. You will want to top this with 6 – 7 more layers of phyllo brushing the top one with butter.
After that, with a sharp knife score the baklava into 15 pieces (5 across and 3 down), and then diagonally across each square you created. Place into your pre-heated oven for 45 minute or until golden and crisp to touch.
Finally, remove from the oven and pour your cooled syrup evenly over your hot baklava. Let your syrup seep into your baklava. It may simmer as it hits the hot pan, but this is normal. Let cool about 15 minutes before recuting where you scored your pieces and serving. Best to serve at room temperature and your baklava will be good for about 4 days.