Continuing from last week’s post about my review of Vefa’s Kitchen by Vefa Alexiadou. I have had amazing Baklava so trust me when I say that this recipe is the best. I did learn a lot about myself by making this recipe and will add impatient to my list when I’m being interview for jobs and they ask what my flaws are.
First, when working with Phyllo dough remember that it is thinner than paper and you are an insane person of you make that homemade. I picked up a box of it in my frozen section. My tip is to read the directions first because I didn’t. Apparently, you need to defrost it for two hours. Now you might be saying, “well duh Ginger of course you defrost it.” Let me state that the brand of phyllo dough gives a recipe to make a dessert and it never stated you had to defrost the dough it just said unroll the dough and start doing something with the dough or whatever the recipe says. I did not look at the side of the box in tiny writing that stated defrost for two hours. Oh well, let’s just say the dough turned into pieces and Blondie and I had to layer the dough like it was a puzzle. It still turned out really good. I was also surprised that the recipe was so simple even with all the layers.
1 1/2 Cups Butter melted
1 lb 2 oz ready-made phyllo dough
2 cups almonds, coarsely chopped
2 cups walnuts coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
cloves, to decorate (optional)
For the syrup
3 cups superfine sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup or honey
grated zest of 1 lemon or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
Brush a baking pan exactly the same size as the sheets of phyllo with melted butter. Alternatively, cut the sheets of phyllo to fit your baking pan and brush it with melted butter. Combine the nuts, cinnamon, and cloves in a bowl. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay 4 sheets of phyllo on the base of the prepared baking pan, brushing each with melted butter. Sprinkle some of the nut mixture evenly over them. Continue layering the sheets of phyllo, 1 at a time and brushing each with melted butter, and sprinkling with some of the nut mixture until all of it has been used and only 4 sheets of phyllo remain. Top with the remaining sheets of phyllo, brushing each one with melted butter. Score the tip layers with a sharp knife into small diamond-shaped or triangular pieces. Stick a clove in the center of each piece, if you like. Brush with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle lightly with warm water to prevent the phyllo from curling. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Meanwhile, make the syrup. Put the sugar, corn syrup or honey, and lemon zest, if using, into a small pan, pour in 2 cups water, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer, without stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest or vanilla, if using, and brandy, if using, and remove from the heat. Ladle the hot syrup carefully and evenly over the baklava as soon as you take it out of the oven. Let it absorb the syrup and cool completely.
Again this was amazing but my last tip is make sure you wait until it is completely cool. We got a little impatient and cut into it while it was hot and it kind of fell apart. Regardless this is one of my favorite desserts of all time. Enjoy!