I finally did it! I made baklava! I’ve been wanting to make it for a long time but have always been scared of making it, thinking it is really difficult to make. Well I was wrong, baklava couldn’t be easier to make. Oh and it turned out so good, I can’t stop eating it. I was thinking of taking it to work on Monday, but I’m afraid there won’t be any left by then.
I don’t think it’s a Christmas dessert, probably has nothing to do with Christmas, but it’s such an elegant dessert, that it’s bound to impress anyone. Especially when you tell them you made it. Anyway I was impressed, it’s very good and I chose to make a baklava with pecans this time, but my next one will surely be with pistachios.
I used a whole package of phyllo dough for this, however, I had the cut the phyllo sheets to be the size of my baking dish, you may not need to do this if you have a baking dish the size of the phyllo sheets. So the ingredients are very basic, phyllo sheets, pecans, butter and a bit of cinnamon. The syrup we’ll worry about a bit later.
You will need lots of pecans, you can use walnuts as well, but you’ll need about 4 cups chopped as fine as you wish them to be.
Melt the butter and using a brush, brush the bottom and the sides of the baking dish. Place one sheet of phyllo at the bottom of the dish, then butter the top of the sheet. Place another sheet on top of it and brush the top again with butter. Repeat this until you have about 6 pastry sheets.
Sprinkle about a tsp of cinnamon over the pecans and mix the pecans with the cinnamon well. Sprinkle a layer of pecans , about 1/3 of the pecans, over the first set of phyllo sheets.
Brush a phyllo sheet with butter and lay it with the buttered side down over the pecans. Brush the top side with butter and lay another sheet over it and brush with butter. Repeat until you have another 5 or 6 phyllo sheets. Sprinkle another 1/3 of the pecan mixture of the phyllo sheets then repeat until you have 3 layers of pecans and 4 layers of phyllo sheets. Butter the top phyllo sheet with butter as well. Using a sharp knife cut the baklava diagonally, or into squares, which ever way you prefer.
Now it’s beginning to look like baklava. Bake it in a preheated 350 F degree oven for about 35 to 40 minutes. Meanwhile you can make the honey syrup. In a medium sauce pan, add the sugar, water, butter, vanilla extract and honey. Stir well and bring to a boil. After it starts boiling reduce heat to medium low and let it simmer until the baklava is ready, stirring occasionally. After you remove the baklava from the oven, pour the syrup immediately over the baklava, making sure you pour all over.
Now here comes the most difficult task. You have to leave the baklava alone for a few hours, so that the syrup sets in and it gets all nice and sticky. I know, it’s very hard. I could barely wait a couple hours and I had to dig in and have some. I was so excited. My very first baklava and it looks and tastes amazing.
Merry Christmas! Maybe baklava should be a Christmas tradition, I mean it’s got all the right ingredients. I think I will make it a tradition at my house.