This dessert is to die for, and I had no idea it was so easy to make. Guess what some of my neighbors are getting for Christmas?
Today begins two weeks of recipes, crafts and traditions that you can do for your very own.
We start out with a decadent sweet treat that will make everyone think you slaved for hours.
Please welcome, Nadja Notariani.
Baklava is a Middle Eastern treat enjoyed throughout the year, but especially at Christmas. The word 'baklava', comes from a Farsi word that means 'many leaves' and describes wonderfully the light, flaky layers of phyllo that make this dessert so delicious!
There are so many variations of this dessert, with many recipes passed down through the generations and guarded closely! My family uses a walnut filling, however, Iranian baklava has a pistachio or pistachio-almond filling. I've even come across a Hungarian filling that uses apricot!
Many people express surprise when they discover how simple the recipe for baklava is - having believed it to be involved and/or difficult. I hope you enjoy this sweet and syrupy treat as much as my family does. Merry Christmas!
* 2 cups sugar
* 1 cup honey
* 2 tablespoons lemon juice
* 2 tablespoons light corn syrup (optional)
* 2 teaspoons cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
* 1 pound walnuts finely chopped (appx. 4 cups) *tip* ~ your handy-dandy food processor is perfect for this job! ;}
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
* 1 pound of phyllo dough (appx 24 sheets)
* 2 sticks melted butter (1 cup)
* Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 13 x 9 baker with non-stick cooking spray - or coat a sided stone pan with olive oil.
1. Make syrup. Stir sugar, honey, water, lemon juice, corn syrup, cinnamon, and cardamom until sugars are dissolved. Turn to medium heat and cook until slightly syrupy (I think about 5-10 minutes). Set aside.
2. Combine filling ingredients. Set aside.
3. Lay a sheet of phyllo in your pan and brush with the melted butter - layering until you get about 5-10 sheets stacked up. Spread with half of the filling. Repeat the layering process with 5-10 more sheets of phyllo and butter. Add remaining filling. Then top with 5-10 final sheets of phyllo, brushing each sheet with the butter as you go. Tuck your edges if they look 'sloppy'. :)
4. Cut strips through the top layers and then cut on diagonal to mark out your diamond pattern on the top. Then sprinkle the top with water.
5. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn oven temperature down to 320 degrees and bake an additional 10-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
6. Cut through your scored lines and then drizzle (very slowly) the cooled syrup over the baklava while it is still hot. Let it cool completely.
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy...
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*Has anyone tried making baklava before?