It’s that time of year again when you make sure your fridge is well stocked with butter and eggs so you can bake for holiday celebrations, family get-togethers, neighbors, and friends. It’s time to pull out the tried-and-true recipes as well as give some new ones a shot. I just added Baklava to my list of favorite holiday recipes. While it does require a little patience in the carefully-separating-paper-thin-sheets-of-phyllo-dough-and-gently-brushing-them-with-butter category, it is a straightforward recipe that yields an incredibly delicious reward. Baklava’s got it all: sweetness from the honey and sugar, the nuts and phyllo dough add a great crunch, it’s a little bit spicy from the cinnamon, and the butter adds a balancing richness. Give Baklava a try this holiday season.
1 ½ cups walnuts, finely chopped
1 ½ cups almonds, finely chopped
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ (16 oz.) package phyllo dough (about 20 sheets of dough), thawed
1 cup Organic Valley Butter, melted
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup honey
¾ cup water
The peel of half a lemon, cut into strips with a vegetable peeler
1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a small bowl, stir together nuts, sugar, and cinnamon.
- Using a pastry brush, butter a 9×13” pan. Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough in the pan and brush with butter, repeat 5 times.
- Sprinkle ¼ of the nut mixture evenly over the 6 sheets of buttered dough. Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough over the nut mixture and brush with butter, add 2 more buttered sheets of phyllo dough.
- Repeat step 4 – 3 more times to use remaining nut/sugar mixture.
- Add all remaining sheets of phyllo dough to the pan, buttering each sheet.
- Gently cut Baklava into 1” squares or diamonds, cutting through all the layers of dough.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until deeply golden brown.
- While Baklava is baking prepare the syrup: bring sugar, honey, water, and lemon zest to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat and let the syrup simmer for 10 minutes, until slightly reduced.
- Remove the syrup from the heat, remove the strips of lemon peel, and stir in the vanilla.
- Once baked, pour half the syrup evenly over the Baklava and allow to sit and absorb for 1-2 minutes. Add more until Baklava is thoroughly moistened without sitting in a sea of syrup. You may have a small amount of syrup left over.
- Let Baklava cool completely before re-cutting and removing from the pan.