I've got another nut filled Greek treat to share this week -- Baklava! This one is from Tessa Kiros' book Food From Many Greek Kitchens and I am sharing it with I Heart Cooking Clubs for their Getting a Little Nutty theme of the week. I enjoy baklava and had made it one time before, but it is not something that picky husband likes so I hadn't made it again. I was hoping that now that my kids are a little older they would love baklava, so I gave it another go...
Tessa Kiros -- Food From Many Greek Kitchens
Makes about 30
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons honey
juice of 1/2 lemon
strip of lemon peel
2 or 3 small cinnamon sticks
1 cup almonds, crushed but with some texture
1 cup walnuts, crushed but with some texture
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
22 sheets phyllo pastry, cut to the dimensions of your dish (I used a 9 by 13 baking dish and did not have to cut my phyllo at all)
2/3 cup (1 and 1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted to golden brown
30 or so whole cloves for decoration
Preheat oven to 350. To make the syrup, put the sugar, honet, lemon juice, lemon peel, and cinnamon in a saucepan with 1 cup water and bring to a boil, stirring. Simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, then take off the heat and cool.
Mix the almonds, walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon together in a bowl. Habe the phyllo sheets ready, covered by a dish cloth to prevent them from drying out. Brush the base of an 8 and 1/2 by 12 inch baking dish (I used a 9 by 13 pyrex) with butter. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo on the bottom and brush with butter. Cover with another sheet, brush it with butter and continue in this way until you have a neat stack of 10 sheets lining the bottom of the dish. Spread half the nut mixture over the phyllo, patting it down firmly and leveling the surface. Cover with another 2 sheets of phyllo, buttering each one. Scatter the rest of the nuts over evenly and press down gently. Now lay down the last 10 sheets of phyllo, butter each one, of course, and finishing with the last layer buttered.
Using a small sharp knife, cut diamonds on the diagonal of about 2 and 1/2 by 2 and 1/2 inches. Cut all the way through the layers of phyllo, as this will make it easier to lift out the pieces when serving. Flick just a little cold water over the top to prevent the layers from curling up.
Stuf the center of each diamond with a clove. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until gently golden on top. Gently pour half of the syrup all over the baklava. Wait for it to be adsorbed, then pour over the rest. Leave to cool totally before serving. Will keep, unrefridgerated, for at least a week, covered with a dish cloth or foil to deter bees and flies.
This was so yummy! It was very sticky syrupy and crispy crunchy on top followed by a softer soaked bottom. Delicious stuff! I shared some with the neighbors and heard it was great. Picky husband didn't want to try any, the kids did try some but didn't like it :( 0h-well. I've had lots of baklava at restaurants and such and this was right up there with the best. I missed the pistachio flavor though, so would definitely add those in next time. This is definitely a great baklava recipe, I just wish my family would have liked it more!