My daughter got married last weekend. Months of planning culminated in the perfect
celebration. And my family got an amazing new son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, and friend.
I am part of a large Italian family, and at our wedding celebrations we have a cookie table. Our cookie table always has several Italian cookies, but the newlyweds also like
non-Italian cookies. Who knew?
One of our family favorite non-Italian cookies is baklava. The crisp phyllo dough and nuts blended with honey and sugar make for a deliciously sweet pasty that melts in your mouth.
Since I have never made baklava before, I searched the Internet for the recipe. Michael
Symon’s recipe looked best, but like any Italian, I adapted it. Before the big day, I made several practice pans and shared them with family and friends. I received great feedback and suggestions to make the recipe even better.
Most people think that baklava is difficult to make, but in truth, it is just a labor of love. And the more that you make it, the easier it becomes. Take the time and make a batch, your family will love it. And it freezes exceptionally well. And the syrup that you pour over top can be adapted to add your favorite flavors.
1 pound melted butter
1 cup pistachios, ground
1 cup walnuts, ground
1 cup graham crackers, ground
1 teaspoon cinnamon (or to taste)
1 pound phyllo dough
3 cups sugar
6 to 8 ounces honey
1-1/2 cups water
1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a rimmed 9″x13″ baking dish with melted butter.
Combine the nuts, graham crackers and cinnamon in food processor. Pulse until finely ground. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and set aside.
Place one sheet of phyllo dough onto the greased baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, coat the top with melted butter. Repeat process with 7 more sheets of phyllo dough. Spread an even layer of 1/6 of the nut mixture on top of the buttered phyllo layers. Layer and butter 4 sheets of phyllo and top with 1/6 of the nut mixture. Repeat 4 times. Use the last 1/6 of the nut mixture and top with 8 layers of buttered phyllo dough sheets. Finish the top layer with plenty melted butter.
Before baking, cut pastry in a diamond pattern. Bake 1 hour on the lower rack, or until golden brown.
In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, honey and
water. Stir constantly, bring to a boil and let cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice and boil for a few more minutes. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool slightly.
Allow Baklava to cool slightly. Pour the warm Syrup over the warm Baklava. Allow Baklava to soak for at least 6 hours or overnight.