National Baklava Day can be so much more amazing with this Homemade Baklava.
Baklava is made using phyllo sheets, which are paper-thin pastry used in much of the Middle East & Greece.
The ingredients for this most delectable pastry are quite simple, using just flour & water, but it takes some skill to mix, knead & stretch this pastry to obtain that almost see-through result.
Tips for Using Phyllo Dough:
The store bought phyllo works very well, but you must keep the sheets moist during assembly by covering the unused sheets with damp tea towels. If allowed to dry, the sheets will crack.
If purchasing frozen phyllo sheets, they must be thawed slowly in the refrigerator, leaving the wrapping on. It will take a few hours or overnight to thaw, after which you should unwrap & remove only the sheets needed for your recipes. Then, rewrap the rest with plastic wrap & return to the freezer.
Stack the sheets you will use on a firm surface with plastic wrap. Then, place another piece on plastic wrap on top of the stacked sheets with a moist towel.
Careful that you don’t destroy your phyllo by allowing the wet towel to touch the sheets, as they will then dissolve into a big blob of a mess. It only takes a minute for an exposed phyllo sheet to dry out & crack, if moved. So, only remove one sheet at a time from under the plastic wrap & quickly cover the rest of the phyllo sheets you will use.
How to Bake Baklava:
Type: Dessert Recipe
Serve with: sprinkled with extra nuts, coffee or tea
Prep Time: 20 min
Bake Time: 35 – 45 min
Cool Time: 4 hrs
Yields: 28 – 32 squares
- 3 cups walnuts, almonds, pecans or pistachios – toasted
- 1/3 cup + 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
- 1 1/4 cups butter
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- orange zest of 1/2 orange
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Prepare a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with butter.
- Grind toasted nuts finely or chop coarsely – walnuts, almonds, pecans or pistachios.
- In another bowl, combine 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon & lemon zest.
- Melt butter for brushing sheets.
- On a work surface, unfold & stack about 1 lb of phyllo dough. * Tip: It’s best to stack 1 or 2 extra sheets of phyllo just in case 1 or 2 are destroyed for any reason.
- trim sheets to fit 9 x 13 inch baking pan. * Tips: Don’t throw away scraps, as they can be used for something else. Keep sheets protected per above directions with damp towel on top of protective plastic wrap, so you don’t damage sheets. When buttering phyllo sheets, only do so with every 2nd sheet each time.
- Place 2 sheets in the bottom of the pan & brush with melted butter.
- Continue stacking 2 sheets & brush each with melted butter, and again until you have 6 brushed sheets in the pan.
- Sprinkle with half of the nuts & half of the sugar mixture.
- Cover filling with 2 sheets brushed with butter & stacked until you have another 6 sheets on top of the filling.
- Cover with remaining nuts & sugar mixture, and cover with 6 or 7 sheets – brushing with butter as before.
- With a very sharp knife, cut through all layers to make about 2 inch squares or diamonds. * Tip: You will not be able to cut the baklava after baking without crushing the pastry sheets, and this way, the honey sugar syrup soaks around every piece.
- Bake for 30 min, and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees F. Bake until golden – about 35 – 45 min.
- During last 30 min of baking, in a sauce pan, mix 1 1/2 cups sugar, water, honey, lemon juice & orange zest.
- Stir & bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer for 12 – 15 min.
- Pour over pastries & cool for 4 hours before serving.
National Baklava Day is such a sweet celebration with some fresh baklava on hand.
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I hope you enjoy this Pastry Recipe on Cooking with Kimberly. Until next time…
Be a Champion in Your Kitchen & Eat Deliciously!
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