How To Make Baklava Honey Nut Pastry From Scratch
Throughout the Middle East and the greater Orient, Baklava is an ancient dessert with many variations. Nuts and honey have been shown to be good for the heart and the immune system, so an occasional sweet treat may do the trick at times. Cinnamon also helps regulate blood sugar. Maybe the ancient chefs were on to something! Baklava is excellent with a high quality coffee or tea. Brewing black tea with fresh herbs and honey is also popular in the Orient, the favorite herbs being Mint or Sage leaf.
For the Syrup
One cup high quality honey preferably wildflower
One and one half cups water
Two tablespoons lemon juice
One tablespoon rosewater or orange water
(If this is not available mix one teaspoon of orange extract with the water)
Two sticks of cinnamon whole
One half teaspoon ground cardamom
For the Filling
One half pound blanched slivered almonds
One half pound blanched whole walnuts
One quarter cup granulated sugar
Two teaspoons cinnamon ground
One teaspoon ground cardamom
One teaspoon rosewater or orange water
For the Pastry
One pound (24 sheets) phyllo pastry
Two sticks of unsalted butter or 16 tablespoons Canola Oil
1) To make the syrup mix the honey, water, lemon juice, orange water, cinnamon sticks, and ground cardamom together in a small sauce pan beginning at low heat for five minutes and increasing to medium for an additional five. Discard cinnamon sticks.The temperature should read 225 degreees farenheit. Set aside to cool for up to four hours.
2) Finely mince the nuts. Add the sugar, ground cinnamon, cardamom, and the orange water or rose water. Mix thoroughly.
3) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the two sticks of unsalted butter. Grease a 12 by 9 or a 13 by 9 baking dish. Layer seven phyllo strips across the bottom of the pan, buttering each layer. Add one half of the nut mixture. Repeat the layering of the phyllo the same way with eight whole pieces. Add the other half of the nut mixture. Top with another eight buttered phyllo layers and tuck under the edges to seal.
4) Lightly paint the top with a bit of water. Drizzle the top with the syrup. Cut the very top layer of baklava phyllo dough into two and a half inch tall diamond shapes. Do not make the diamonds to narrow in width.
5) Bake for twenty minutes at 350 F. Reduce the heat to 300 F. for fifteen minutes. Cut through the diamond shapes and let cool.
6) Serve each pastry on a dessert plate, dusted with ground cinnamon, and drizzled with honey.
Recipe by: Sarah J. Hall World Cuisine Today January 27, 2017