My dear blogger-friend UL had requested me to make Baklava and post the recipe here. Making baklava is an easy but patient-demanding and time -consuming procedure. I have made it couple of times before, and I follow the recipe by Gretchen, the instructions here are concise and precise, with additional FAQs. She even has tips on how to cut the Baklava 🙂
You will need 1 package of Frozen Phyllo Dough, this contains 18 sheets. Thaw the phyllo dough preferably in a refrigerator for about 6 hours. Be very careful while handling these sheets – they are very fragile and break into pieces easily, especially when dry. It is also a good idea to cover them with a moist paper towel, so that they don’t get too dry. The size of these sheets is 13″ x 17″, so use an oven-proof pan (or aluminium tray) that is slightly smaller (around 11.5″ x 15″) in dimension.
Combine 1 lb of Walnut meal with 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp of cinnamon & nutmeg, and divide it into 4 equal parts. You will also need 1 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 cup of honey, 1 cup of sugar and vanilla extract.
- Melt the butter and brush the bottom-side of the pan and layer 6 sheets on the bottom. You need to butter each layer, before placing the sheet on top. Don’t worry about the edges extending over to the sides.
- Cut the rest of the sheets in half. Spread the 1 part of the quartered walnut mixture on top of the sheets.
- Layer 8 half-sheets, staggering them from one-corner to the other and don’t forget to butter them as you go. It is a good idea to do this in a pattern – left-bottom, left-top, right-top and right-bottom, so you know how many sheets have been layered.
- Do this repeatedly, till you get 4 layers of the nuts. Finally layer all the remaining sheets on top. Remember to butter them, very important! Brush the top with some butter as well. Baklava will be very fragile after baking, so cut it now before baking. You don’t have to cut it deeply.
- Bake it at 300 degrees for an hour.
- While the baklava is cooking, mix 1 cup of sugar and water, 1 tbsp of lemon juice and cook in medium heat for about 15 mins. Turn the heat off, add the honey and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Remove the pan from the oven, cut it again to make sure it is evenly and properly cut and then add the syrup on top and let it sit.
Never eat fresh Baklava and prepare it atleast the day-before if not earlier, as the longer it sits, tastier it becomes. Personally, I like it best when it is 2-3 days old.
Update: Although the original recipe uses about 3 sticks of butter, I used only a stick and a quarter. Start with 1 stick of butter and add more, if need be, as you go along.