Baklava, I am in love with you. And that's all that needs to be said !!!
Only joking, but I do think that I may have a little addiction going on here. I tried baklava the first time in Skopelos and it was love at first bite. The Greeks cover everything in syrup and that is my idea of heaven.
I have always wanted to make baklava, but thought that working with the phyllo (filo) may be a little tricky, but as long as you take your time, treat the pastry gently you can't go wrong and it is so worth the effort.
So forget the calories and enjoy.
(Photo below taken in Skopelos, July 2009)
150g almonds, crushed but with some texture
150g walnuts, crushed but with some texture
(The recipe doesn't state this, but most baklava recipes have pistachio's in them, so next time I make this I am going to just do a three way mix of all the above nuts up to 300g)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
22 sheets of phyllo/filo pastry, cut to the dimensions of your tin
150g unsalted butter, melted to golden brown
30 or so cloves for decorating (I hate cloves so I leave this part out)
2 tablespoons honey
Strip of lemon peel
Juice of half a lemon
2 or 3 small cinnamon rolls
Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas 4.
To make the syrup, put the sugar, honey, lemon juice, lemon peel and cinnamon in a saucepan with 1 cup of water and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer for 5 to 6 minutes then take off the heat and cool.
To make the baklava, mix the almonds, walnuts, pistachios, sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Have the phyllo sheets ready, covered by a tea towel to prevent them drying out. Brush the base of a 22 x 30cm ovenproof dish with butter. Depending on your phyllo size, they do alter from manufacturer to manfacturer, you may have to find a dish to suit the size of your phyllo.
Lay 1 sheet of phyllo on the bottom and brush with butter. Cover with another sheet, brush it with butter and continue in this way until you have a neat stack of 10 sheets lining the bottom of the dish.
Spread half of the nut mixture over the phyllo, patting it down firmly and leveling the surface. Cover with another 2 sheets of phyllo, buttering each one. Scatter the rest of the nuts over evenly and press gently down.
Now lay down the last 10 sheets of phyllo, buttering each one as you go and finishing with the last layer buttered.
Using a small sharp knife, cut diamonds on the diagonal of about 6 x 6 cms. Cut all the way through the layers of phyllo as this will make it easier to lift out the pieces when serving.
Flick just a little cold water over the top to prevent the layers from curling up. Stud the center of each diamond with a clove if you like them.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden on top.
Gently pour half the syrup all over the baklava. Wait for it to be absorbed then pour over the rest. Leave to cool totally before serving.
Baklava will keep, unrefrigerated, for at least a week, covered or in an airtight container.