Recipe for Greek Baklava
Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of phyllo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup made from sugar and/or honey. At Christmastime in parts of Greece, such as Evros, sesame seeds are used instead of almonds, walnuts, or pistachios. If looking for something sweet to eat during fasting periods, such as Great Lent, use sesame seeds instead of the other nuts, and substitute all butter for olive oil.
For the Filling:
- 1 1/2 cups butter
- 1 lb. phyllo dough
- 1 lb. chopped almonds, walnuts, pistachios or whole sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoons cloves
For the Syrup:
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 cup honey
- 3 cups water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Juice of half a fresh orange
Preheat oven to 325 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Melt the butter in the microwave or in a medium saucepan. Brush a 9 x 13 baking dish on the bottom and all the sides with the butter using a pastry brush. Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough into the baking dish and brush with butter. Place a second pastry sheet on top of the first and butter again. Repeat until 6 layers of buttered pastry sheets have been built up.
Mix walnuts or almonds, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Sprinkle top pastry sheet thick with walnut mixture and place one sheet of phyllo on top of the mixture. Brush the sheet with melted butter, and then place another sheet of phyllo on top. Brush that sheet with butter, as well. Repeat in same manner until all ingredients have been used, ending with 6 pastry sheets.
Brush top with remaining butter and trim edges with sharp knife. Cut diagonal lines the length of the pan to make diamond shaped pieces. Sprinkle with water.
Bake in the center of the oven for about 1 hour or until golden.
While the baklava is baking, make the syrup. Add the sugar, water, orange juice, and cinnamon stick to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer the syrup for about 10 minutes. Pour the hot syrup on top of the baklava right after it comes out of the oven. Let the baklava sit on the counter at room temperature until cooled completely. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting into small pieces.
This post was written by GreekBoston.com