Known for its sweet rich flavor and flaky texture, baklava is a traditional pastry dessert. It is first documented during the Ottoman Empire but its exact origin has yet to be known. It has become so popular worldwide and has a lot of variations. But these things remain in almost all baklava variations – they are sweet, nutty, and flaky treats.
Baklava is now a popular layered pastry dessert in any modern home. It is made from phyllo pastry with chopped nut filling and sweetened by syrup or honey. Making baklava is not difficult at all. It does not need some advanced baking skills. What is required here is patience as it may be time-consuming. But when your baklava is done using this recipe, you will surely get the best accolades you ever had.
Ingredient for the pastry:
1/2 cup of chopped almonds
1–1/2 cups of melted sweet butter
Dash of ground clove
5 tbsp. of sugar
1 tsp. of cinnamon
2 cups of walnuts, pistachio nuts, or hazelnuts, roughly chopped
Ingredients for the syrup:
2 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of honey
3 slices orange & lemon rind
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. of lemon juice
For the pastry:
- Place sheets of phyllo pastry in a 13x9x2 inch pan, brushing every other sheet evenly with butter.
- When ten or twelve sheets are in place, combine walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and clove, and spread 1/3 of this mixture over the sheet.
- Place another five or six buttered sheets of phyllo on top of the nut mixture. Repeat this process two more times, alternating nut mixture with five or six sheets of buttered phyllo.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
- With a sharp knife, cut the baklava into diamond-shaped pieces.
- Heat remaining butter (there should be about 1/2 cup) until hot and light brown. Pour evenly over the baklava.
- Sprinkle a few drops of cold water on top and bake for 30 minutes.
- Reduce the temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius) and continue to bake for 1 hour.
For the syrup:
- Combine water, sugar, honey, lemon juice, orange and lemon rind, cinnamon stick, and cloves in a saucepan.
- Heat the mixture until a drop forms when placed into a cup of cold water. Simmer for additional 20 minutes, and then strain.
- Pour syrup over baked baklava.
For sure, you do not want baklava that has lost its crispiness. To retain the crispiness and freshness of baklava for a number of days, keep it at room temperature without covering it in a tightly sealed plastic. The phyllo pastry will turn soggy. Instead, wrap your baklava with a clean cheesecloth or tea towel after it has completely cooled down.
Although it may take some effort to bake baklava, it will surely give you so much satisfaction when you bake this dessert for your loved ones. Hearing those crisp sounds as everyone will be taking their first bite of the baklava after dinner would surely sound like angels singing, Halleluiah!