So, I may have posted about Baklava before, but I have made it several times in the last couple weeks, and so I am posting about it again. I like it because it easy, its good, and EVERYONE ALWAYS raves about it. I, of course, never tell anyone that the secret ingredient is enough butter to kill a horse, but what's a heart attack amoung friends?
1 lb Filo (phyllo) dough. Found in the freezer section of the grocery store.
a LOT of butter. I have used anywhere between 2-4 sticks. (.5-1 lb)
Nuts. I prefer walnuts, D prefers almonds. I like the bitterness of the walnuts. So I say walnuts.
1 C sugar
1/2 C honey
If you remember ahead of time, pull the Filo out of the freezer and put it in the fridge a day or two before you make it. Filo dough will stay good for about 4 weeks in the fridge, and indefinitely in the freezer. If you DON'T remember, let it thaw for a couple hours on the counter.
Butter the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Melt a couple sticks of butter. In a chopper, blend the nuts (I use about 6-8 oz.) with cinnamon (uh...I just dump some in). Place nearby. GENTLY lift two sheets of the Filo and place it in the bottom of the pan. For the first few layers at the bottom, you may need to trim the ends off, it will be too long. Just use a sharp knife. Using a paintbrush-looking thing, butter the top of the Filo dough. Place 2 more sheets, butter and repeat.
When you are about 8 sheets deep (sheets. that mean about 4 rotations of layer and butter), dump a couple of tablespoons of the nut mixture onto the Filo. Spread it around so its evenly covering the Filo, then go back to the dough and the butter routine. I usually end up doing about 8 sheets, nuts, 8 sheets, nuts, 8 sheets, nuts and then 6-8 more sheets. Make sure you THUROUGHLY butter the top layer.
Now comes the hardest part of the whole adventure...cutting the baklava into square or diamonds. I guess the easiest way to do it is to cut about 4 sections lengthwise, and then diagonally across from there. It's a giant pain in the butt, and I have yet to find a way to do it that is any easier or faster than what I've done before. So, good luck with that.
After you have managed to cut that thing into a couple dozen pieces, put it in a 350* oven for 40-50 minutes. I find its usually done at 40. 25 minutes before the Baklava is going to come out of the oven, mix 1C sugar into 1C water on the stove. When the mix starts to boil, add the honey and a splash of vanilla. Let this simmer for about 20 minutes, until the baklava comes out the oven.
Now this is my favorite part!!! When the Baklava comes out of the oven, immediately pour the water/sugar/honey mix over the baklava. It bubble! It steams! It makes neat sounds! I love it!
Let the baklava cool a bit. If you are eating it at home, just get pieces from the pan. If you are taking it to a potluck or something, its far easier to put the pieces into those paper muffin cups. When storing baklava don't store it in an airtight container, or the fridge. The fridge makes it hard, and the airtight makes it soggy. Enjoy the baklava and the compliments!!