Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Trying Baklava...

When I saw that is was Baklava Day (11/17) I thought that would be a great challenge for me to do, mostly because I had no idea what Baklava was and also because I have never cooked with Phyllo dough. Why, you might ask? Well, to make a long story short, it is not on the diet. But, what is so great about this time of year is that we can allow ourselves just a little splurge now and then to remember why we love food so much. Plus, I just had to make this recipe so that I can bring it to you. So what is Baklava? "Baklava is a type of Greek pastry traditionally made with phyllo dough, honey, nuts, and orange essence. Many other Middle Eastern nations have pastries which are very similar, thanks to a long running tradition of sweet desserts which feature flaky, delicate pastry. While baklava was originally considered a food for the wealthy, today it can be found in many pastry shops and Greek specialty stores all over the world." So maybe this Thanksgiving, splurge a little and try a new cuisine, even if it is not on the diet especially if it is sweet, warm, buttery, nutty Baklava (fun to say huh?)

** Notes :Phyllo dough is usually found in the freezer or refrigeration section of your local supermarket. It is fairly easy to use but does dry out very very quickly. Read the directions to keep moist. Also, go slow with the butter, you cannot brush the butter on quickly or you will be fighting the dough.


  • 1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
  • 1 pound chopped nuts
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup honey


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(175 degrees C). Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon. Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough. Cut whole stack in half to fit pan. Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work. Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle 2 - 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 6 - 8 sheets deep.
  3. Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. You may cut into 4 long rows the make diagonal cuts. Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.
  4. Make sauce while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let cool. Serve in cupcake papers. This freezes well. Leave it uncovered as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up.

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