Baklava

Ingredients:

  • 1 half-pound package of phyllo dough (or half of a pound package)
  • 3.5 cups chopped walnuts, pecans, and/or almonds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-and-1/2 sticks melted margarine, divided
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions:

  • Remove the phyllo dough package from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator for 24 hours to thaw.
  • Once thawed, remove the phyllo dough from the fridge 1 hour before using.
  • When you are ready to begin actually making the baklava, preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F).
  • Toss together the chopped nuts and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • Thoroughly spray a 9″x13″ baking pan with nonstick spray.
  • Then, make sure the sheets of phyllo will generally fit the pan (if they’re a little bigger, that’s okay.) If they’re much bigger, just trim them with a sharp knife.
  • When working with the phyllo dough, only remove the sheets you immediately need, keeping the other sheets covered in plastic wrap, then a damp cloth.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, melt 1 stick of the margarine.  (Heat the stick for 20-30 seconds, then stir with a fork.  Continue heating in 20-30 second increments [stirring afterwards each time] until all of the margarine is melted.)
  • Using a pastry brush (or a BBQ brush if you don’t have a pastry brush on hand), butter the top sheet of phyllo with melted margarine, then grab the just-buttered sheet of phyllo dough and the unbuttered sheet below it. Set the two sheets in the pan, buttered sheet face down. Press lightly into the pan. Repeat this twice more, so that you have six sheets of phyllo in the pan, three of which are buttered.
  • Sprinkle on enough nuts to make a single layer. (I ended up using a scant 3/4 cup of nuts in each layer.)
  • Return to the stack of phyllo dough.  Butter one sheet of phyllo, grab that sheet and the sheet beneath it, and place them on top of the nuts.
  • Add another layer of nuts, then two more phyllo sheets (one buttered, one not).
  • Repeat this a couple more times, until you’re out of nuts. (My baklava had a total of 5 nut layers.)
  • Top the dish with 4 more individually-buttered phyllo sheets, ending with a buttered top.
  • Cut the baklava into squares using a very sharp knife.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the baklava is very golden brown.
  • While the baklava is baking, combine one-half stick of the margarine, honey, water, sugar, and vanilla in a saucepan.
  • Bring the honey mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer until the baklava is finished baking (~20-30 minutes).
  • When you remove the baklava from the oven, drizzle half of the sauce evenly all over the top.  (I used a half-cup measuring spoon to spread the liquid sugar over the baked baklava, allow for better control of the sauce flow and placement.)
  • Allow the baklava pieces to sit and absorb for a minute, then drizzle on the remaining sauce.  Make sure to pour the sauce both over the top of each piece, as well as to saturate the area in between each of the slices.
  • Allow the baklava to cool, uncovered, for several hours. Once completely cool, you can carefully remove the pieces from the pan and serve/eat.

Makes 32 pieces.

Nutritional information per piece (approximates): 185 calories, 13 g fat, 18 g carbohydrate, 1.5 g fiber, 11.5 g sugar, 2 g protein.

Here’s the baklava before I put it in the oven…

Here’s the baklava before I put it in the oven…

…and here it is after 30 minutes of heat, all nice and golden brown.

…and here it is after 30 minutes of heat, all nice and golden brown.

The first piece.

The first piece.

The ratings:
Mental Cost (ingredient availability): Very low
Financial Cost (ingredient cost): Pretty low
Emotional Cost (cooking skill level): Medium
Time Cost (recipe preparation):  Also medium
Life Cost (clean up time/effort): Surprisingly low
Worth It? (rate from 1-5): 4.973

Miscellaneous suggestions, insights, and/or thoughts:

Baklava is not all that difficult to make – I was very surprised!  If you want to read the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of how this recipe came to be, check out this blog post.

Stef

Advertisements

About Stef

A "serious" gal who is trying to remember to lighten up and smile.
This entry was posted in dessert, food, greek, honey, mediterranean, nuts, phyllo dough, picture step-by-step, postaweek, recipe, vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s