Well, I have never made Baklava before, but I love to eat it at my favorite Greek restaurant for a lovely sweet and nutty dessert! Since this is HONEY WEEK, it's the first thing I thought of for dessert. My husband has been bugging me for sopapillas, something else I've never made. That sounds good, too; I may have to indulge him!
Notes on this recipe: I like to have the nuts crushed into oblivion. Well, maybe not that much, but I suggest pulsing them in a food processor, or banging them really good with a hammer (while still in the bag, of course!). Since it was my first time, they were pretty chunky. Also, I didn't have enough almonds, so I added walnuts. No big deal. Still delicious!
Too, for my taste, there was a LOT of syrup. You could easily leave out 1/2 cup of the prepared syrup and use it for pancakes!! Very tasty, since it has orange zest and amaretto!
ALMOND & CARDAMOM BAKLAVA
2 cups slivered almonds, lightly toasted and chopped
2 cups unsalted pistachios, chopped
1 teaspoon ground green cardamom
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
24 sheets phyllo pastry
½ cup butter, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup honey
¼ cup amaretto
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
Preheat oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
For the filling, combine all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl; set aside.
To prepare the pastry, place 1 sheet of phyllo on the prepared baking sheet, keeping the phyllo covered with a damp towel. Brush phyllo lightly with melted butter, top with second sheet of phyllo, and lightly brush it with butter; repeat process with 5 more sheets phyllo.
Top this stack with half of the nut mixture, then layer with 3 sheets of phyllo, each brushed with melted butter. Top with remaining nut mixture, and an additional 6 sheets of phyllo, each brushed with butter.
Using a large pastry wheel, pizza cutter, or large knife, cut baklava in half lengthwise and into 3 strips widthwise to form 6 large squares. Cut each square on the diagonal to form triangles. Lightly sprinkle the top of the pastry with water to prevent curling and bake 35-40 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the
For the syrup, heat 1 ¼ cups water in medium size saucepan over medium-high heat. Combine all syrup ingredients, cook, stirring constantly, until mixture foams up and becomes syrupy, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally if sugar crystals form. Remove from heat and spoon syrup over hot pastries. Allow to cool.
Garnish with slivered almonds and allow to rest about 4 hours at room temperature before serving.
"Food is never just food. It's also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, & who we want to be." -- Molly Wizenberg