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Prep 20 mins
Cook 1 hr 5 mins
In the 1970s and early 1980s, Laurel, Maryland was home to Tag's Restaurant, one of the finest and least expensive Mediterranean restaurants in the state and the place was always packed on weekends. Family owned and operated by the Photinakis family, the restaurant fell victim to a devastating fire and never re-opened. Hostess and waitress Mama Photinakis was also the baker in the family and she prepared all their wonderful fresh desserts. Her baklava was a favourite among the regular diners, and although I cannot duplicate her recipe, this recipe comes very close. I hope you enjoy it.
- Combine syrup ingredients and boil for 10 minutes.
- Mix nuts, sugar, cinnamon and orange rind well.
- Melt the butter and brush on a 13-inch by 9-inch pan.
- Place one layer of phyllo in pan allowing ends to extend over pan.
- Brush with melted butter.
- Repeat with four sheets of phyllo.
- Sprinkle heavily with nut mixture, and continue to alternate one layer of phyllo, brush with melted butter, sprinkle heavily with nut mixture until all ingredients are used.
- Be sure to reserve 4 sheets of phyllo for the top (each to be brushed with butter).
- Brush top with remaining butter, trim edges with sharp knife.
- Cut through top with diagonal lines to form diamond shapes.
- Bake in a 400°F oven for 15 minutes, lower oven to 300 degrees and continue to bake for 40 minutes.
- The baklava should be golden brown in color.
- While still hot, cover with prepared syrup and let stand overnight before serving.
- Baklava should rest for 24 hours before removing from pan.
- Will keep in refrigerator for weeks or it can be frozen.