Yes! Baklava the easy way! You can do it! There are many versions of this delicacy but this one is by far the simplest to make and very delicious. It will satisfy any sweet tooth!
You will need:
- 9 x 13 baking dish
- small saucepan
- pastry brush
- 1 lb chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, pistachios, cashews)
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 package phyllo dough (16 oz.)
- 1 Cup butter, melted
- 1 Cup water
- 1/2 Cup honey
- 1 Cup white sugar
- 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the 9×13 inch baking dish (butter sprays do not work well).
Mix cinnamon and nuts together and set aside. Unroll phyllo and cut whole stack in half to fit the dish. Cover phyllo with a damp cloth while making the baklava or it ill dry out!
Put two sheets of phyllo in the bottom of the baking dish and brush heavily with butter. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of the nut mix on top. Repeat layers until all ingredients are gone, You will end with about 6 sheets of phyllo.
Use a sharp knife and cut baklava into four long rows, then cut nine times diagonally to make 36 diamond shapes. Make sure to cut all the way through!
Bake 45 – 50 minutes, until it is golden and crisp.
While baklava is baking, combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir in honey, vanilla and lemon zest, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven and immediately spoon the syrup over it. Let cool completely before serving.
Here are some helpful tips for making this delicious delicacy:
1. Make the syrup a day ahead, so it will be room temperature the day you bake the baklava. You should pour cool syrup over the hot baklava. Simmer the sugar, water, cinnamon and lemon for 30 minutes. Pour it into a jar and let it sit overnight.
2. Melt the butter over low heat and keep it warm throughout the process. Use a pastry brush to grease the bottom and sides of the pan.
3. Brush each sheet of phyllo with butter just before you add it to the pan. This is what makes the phyllo come out crispy and flaky.
4. Lay 6 or 7 sheets of the buttered phyllo on the bottom of the pan. On the 7th sheet, sprinkle the sweetened, not too finely chopped nuts. Sprinkle generously, but don’t overdo it.
5. Lay two more sheets of buttered phyllo over the nuts. Sprinkle another layer of nuts. Keep going in this way, nuts, phyllo, more nuts.
6. When you’re out of nuts, top with a final 6-7 more sheets of buttered phyllo, and no more nuts on top.
7. Heat the butter very warm and drizzle a little more over the entire pan.
8. Take it out of the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes, then pour the syrup over the whole thing. Try to cover the whole top, but if it is too much syrup, don’t use it all.