Baklava may be the best dessert I've ever known. And, well, let's just say I'm a dessert slut. I have a sweet tooth and my willpower is sometimes, shall we say, a little lacking. Besides, it's important for the integrity of The Hazel Bloom that I try most every dessert so that I have a broad and deep knowledge of the sweets out there and thus I can report on only the best for you, my readers.
Aren't I selfless?!
Baklava. Heavenly thin layers of buttered phyllo sheets filled with cinnamon and nuts and topped with a vanilla-honey sauce. Holy moly. How could this not be the best thing ever?
When I invited the girls over for a greek-food-and-ABBA fest (a'la Mamma Mia), I knew I had to save this night as my once-per-week diet cheat night, and I knew I had to make (and eat) baklava.
All the girls loved it, too.
[Pretend there's a photo of an empty plate here. I would have taken one, but my fingers were sticky from baklava.]
You know what's cool about this baklava recipe, other than being dang delicious? It's easy. Deceptively so. You hear it's complex and takes forever to make... nah. I put it together in about 20 minutes.
Here's the recipe!
Pistachio and Walnut Baklava
Adapted from NEONWILLIE's Baklava recipe on allrecipes.com
Makes about 20 pieces
- 1 - 16 ounce package phyllo dough
- 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 cup pistachios, chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup honey
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Butter a 9x13 pan.
- Chop the nuts - all the better if you have a handy little chopper!
- In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon with the nuts.
- Melt the butter.
- Set yourself up to do some quick layering work. Get the pan in a convenient spot, and have the melted butter and a brush handy, the nut mixture with a spoon handy, and the phyllo ready. A note on the phyllo, for what it's worth: Some folks suggest keeping the phyllo under a damp dishtowel to keep it from drying out. Me, I just try to work really fast so I'm done before it dries out.
- Okay! We're ready to layer! Layer the first sheet of phyllo in the pan. Just lay it in the pan, then fold it over so you have two layers, kind of like so:
- After the first sheet is folded into the pan, brush it lightly with the melted butter. Don't soak it - that will lead to soggy baklava. Soggy baklava bad!
- Repeat three times - for a total of eight layers of phyllo (four layers folded over) for the bottom of the baklava.
- Now, we start adding nuts! Sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of nuts over the last buttered layer you put down.
- Add the next two layers (again, one layer of phyllo folded), brush with butter, and sprinkle with nuts.
- Continue until the nut mixture is gone.
- Add the remaining layers of phyllo, brushing with butter as you go.
- And finally, brush the top layer with butter.
- Using a very sharp knife, cut through ALMOST to the bottom of the baklava - about 1/2 inch from the bottom. Cut it into squares, or you can do the diagonal thing if you'd like.
- Bake at 325 degrees for about 50 minutes, until crisp and golden.
- While the baklava is baking, make the sauce. First, heat the one cup sugar and one cup water to a boil.
- Add the 1/2 cup honey and the vanilla extract.
- Simmer for 20 minutes, then remove from heat.
- When you've removed the baklava from the oven, spoon the sauce over the top.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so, then cut all the way through, and place each piece in a cupcake liner to serve.