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This is easily, the recipe I get asked for most often, when I take it to a potluck. Not technically difficult, just a little time-consuming. Patience is the essential ingredient.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup honey
- 3⁄4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 strip lemon zest (1-inch by 2-inch)
- 2 pinches ground cloves
- 2 pinches ground cardamom
- 3⁄4 lb walnuts, chopped
- 1⁄4 lb almonds, slivered
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1⁄2 cups unsalted butter
- 1 lb phyllo dough, leaves (thawed in refrigerator 24 hours)
- Combine the ingredients listed under SYRUP in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the syrup is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and lemon zest and set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Place nuts in food processor. Pulse a few times to chop to consistency of small Grape-Nut cereal size. Don’t pulverize. Add the cinnamon and salt, and pulse briefly again to combine.
- Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan.
- Using a pastry brush, lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with some of the melted butter.
- Unfold the phyllo and cut to size of inside of baking dish. Cover with slightly damp towel while you’re working on it.
- Place one of the sheets of phyllo in the bottom of the buttered baking dish and lightly brush with some of the melted butter. Repeat this procedure with 6 more sheets of phyllo, for a total of 7 layers. Sprinkle ¾ cup of the nut mixture evenly over the buttered phyllo sheets. Repeat again with 7 more sheets of phyllo, buttering each layer as before, and top these sheets with another ¾ cup of the nut mixture. Continue this layering process, buttering 7 sheets of phyllo and topping each 7 sheets with nuts, until you have used all of the nut mixture. Layer any remaining sheets of phyllo on top, buttering between each layer, until all of the phyllo sheets have been used.
- Use a sharp steak knife, make four lengthwise cuts through the layered phyllo at 1½ -inch increments. You should have 5 strips lengthwise. Now cut diagonally at 1½ -inch increments to form diamond shapes. You should end up with approximately 36 diamond-shaped pieces of baklava. Bake the baklava until golden brown, about 40 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, set aside on a wire rack to cool 5 minutes. Using a ladle or small measuring cup, drizzle the cooled syrup over the warm baklava. Allow to stand several hours or overnight before serving.