Baklava is one of those desserts that has a reputation for being difficult to prepare, but this recipe is surprisingly simple. It is passed on from my mom, who has experience in baking a variety of Middle Eastern desserts, and this is the best one by far! We used a combination of walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds. Some people like to use pistachios (they all taste delicious), but it’s a matter of personal taste. The hint of lemon blends so well with the sweetness of this dish. It’s sweet, crunchy, buttery and so luscious! You will LOVE this recipe! The baklava can be prepared ahead of time, and left to soak up all the juices at a room temperature for up to 10 days.
Serves 10, makes 25 pieces
- 1 package phyllo dough
- 1 stick grass-fed butter, melted
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3 tbsp raw cane sugar
INGREDIENTS FOR SAUCE
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup raw cane sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- STEP 1. Thaw phyllo dough overnight in the fridge or place on kitchen counter for a couple of hours before starting to cook. Don’t try to use it when frozen, it will crack.
- STEP 2. Trim phyllo dough in a stack (so it is equal) to fit your baking dish. I used an 8” by 8” pan, and had a lot of extra dough left. It made 25 small diamond shape pieces. Feel free to use a slightly bigger one if you wish.
- STEP 3. Preheat oven to 375F.
- STEP 4. Pulse all the nuts in a food processor until coarsely ground. In a mixing bowl, combine the nuts with sugar and cinnamon.
- STEP 5. Melt a stick of butter in a pan over low heat.
- STEP 6. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of the baking dish.
- STEP 7. Place 5 phyllo sheets into the baking dish, brushing each individually with butter before adding the next one. Keep the remaining of phyllo dough covered with a damp paper towel to prevent it from getting dry. Once you have placed the 5th sheet, spread about 1/3 of the mixture over the phyllo dough.
- STEP 8. Add 5 sheets of buttered phyllo dough, and then 1/3 of the mixture. Repeat one more time.
- STEP 9. Finish with 8-10 buttered phyllo sheets and make sure to brush the top one very well with butter.
- STEP 10. Cut pastry into wide strips, and cut diagonally to form diamond shapes.
- STEP 11. Bake on 375F for 25 minutes, or until golden on top.
- STEP 12. Remove from oven, and let the baklava cool completely for 2-3 hours while you prepare the sauce. It is very important that the baklava is cooled, and the sauce is very hot. This way it will soak in very well and soften the sheets of phyllo dough.
DIRECTIONS FOR SAUCE
- STEP 1. In a medium sauce pan, combine all of the ingredients for the sauce and bring to a boil.
- STEP 2. Boil over medium heat until sugar melts, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
- STEP 3. Remove from heat and pour over cooled baklava.