Welcome to day 12 of 12 days of Christmas!
I think I’ve saved the best for last. I know it’s not a cookie recipe, but it’s one of my favorites, pistachio baklava.
I love all baklava, but pistachio is my favorite. There’s just something about pistachios, they are my favorite nuts. Maybe it’s the saltiness that I like so much but I could snack on them all the time. You can find them at Costco a lot cheaper than in most other stores. Trust me I know, we were looking for them everywhere.
Baklava is a rich sweet pastry made with sheets of phyllo dough filled with a mixture of nuts and sweetened with honey or syrup. I’m not sure if it originated in Turkey but I know you can find it at middle Eastern restaurants and Greek restaurants. There are many variations of it, and to tell you the truth I haven’t found a baklava that I haven’t liked.
It’s become a tradition at my house to make baklava at Christmas. It’s such a decadent dessert that it’s worthy of such a holiday.
- 1 lb. of chopped pistachios
- 1 lb of phyllo dough
- 1 cup of butter, melted
- ⅓ cup of sugar
- 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
- ⅓ tsp of ground cloves
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of sugar
- ½ cup of honey
- 2 tbsp of lemon juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Finely ground pistachios for garnish (optional)
- Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set the oven to 350°F
- Thaw the phyllo dough according to manufacturer’s directions (this may take overnight). When thawed, roll out the dough. Cover with a damp towel to keep it from drying out.
- Pulse the pistachios in a food processor together with sugar, cinnamon and cloves until fine crumbs. In a separate bowl, melt the butter in the microwave.
- Place a sheet of phyllo dough into the pan. Using a pastry brush, brush the phyllo sheet with melted butter. Repeat 7 more times until it is 8 sheets thick, each sheet being brushed with the butter.
- Spoon on a thin layer of the pistachio mixture. Cover with two more sheets of phyllo, brushing each one with butter. Continue to repeat the nut mixture and two buttered sheets of phyllo until the nut mixture is all used up. The top layer should be 8 phyllo sheets thick, each sheet being individually buttered.
- Cut into equal sized squares using a sharp knife.
- Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden brown, and edges appear slightly crisp.
- While baking, make the syrup. Combine the cinnamon stick, sugar, lemon juice, honey, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium low heat and let simmer for 7 minutes and slightly thickened. Remove the cinnamon stick and allow to cool.
- Spoon the cooled syrup over the hot baklava and let cool for at least 4 hours. Garnish with some finely crushed pistachios of desired.