Baklava (Bac- la- wah is the Middle Eastern pronunciation) is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey.
Gooey and delicious is this Middle Eastern version of Baklava. The Greeks make it with honey; but this recipe calls for a sweet simple syrup infused with rose water and orange water. The filling is traditionally toasted pistachios, but pecans, walnuts, almonds or cashews can be used. The dessert with its phyllo dough wrapping can be prepared and frozen for later baking. The syrup is drizzled on after it is baked.
The preparation is a bit of a process; but anything good and worthwhile is worth the effort. The appreciation comes from that effort.
- 1 lb. chopped pistachios
- ½ C sugar
- 1 t rose water
Chop nuts medium fine and add sugar and rose water to suit taste. Wrap in phyllo dough. Use personal preference in wrapping mixture in phyllo dough.
Method # 1 Cut whole stack of dough 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.
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 at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.
Method #2Cut dough in long 2 ½ inch strips. Place nut mixture at one corner and wrap dough like a flag, making a triangle. May be baked or frozen for later use at this point.
Method #3Cut dough in 4 inch strips, buttering each strip before layering on the next. Place dough across the bottom of one end leaving ½ inch on both sides. Begin rolling folding ends to the middle to seal and roll strip to the end, making what looks like long fingers. Butter the finished product. Baklava may be baked or frozen at this point.
- 3 C sugar
- 1 C water
- 1 t fresh lemon juice
- ½ t rose water
- ½ t orange water
Heat all ingredients on a medium fire, stirring constantly. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and let cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Refrigerate immediately.
Rose water and Orange water can be purchased at Shahrzad in Sandy Springs and all Whole Food locations.
Cooking Tip: Syrup can be made up to 5 days ahead and chilled, covered. Baklava keeps in an airtight container up to 1 week.
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