Recipe courtesy of Chara Kourti

Baklava

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 15 min
  • Prep: 45 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 10-12 servings
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Ingredients

For the filling: 

1 1/2 pounds finely chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground cloves

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs

25 phyllo pastry sheets

2 cups unsalted butter, melted, plus more if necessary

10 to 12 whole cloves

For the syrup:

4 pounds sugar

7 tablespoons honey

7 cups water

2 whole cloves

1 tablespoon butter

One 1-inch cinnamon stick

3 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 390 degrees F then reduce heat to 300 degrees F before adding the baklava.
  2. Combine walnuts, cinnamon, ground cloves, sugar and bread crumbs together in a large bowl.
  3. Grease a baking pan with the melted butter. It should be the same size as the sheets of pastry. Trim the pastry to fit, if needed.
  4. Brush 1 sheet of pastry with melted butter and place in the bottom of the pan. Repeat this until you have a layer about 5 or 6 sheets deep. Cover with some of the nut filling. Place 2 more buttered pastry sheets on top and cover with more of the nut filling. Continue the layers until all of the filling is used. Use the last 4 or 5 of the buttered pastry sheets as the top layer.
  5. Using a small sharp knife cut a diamond shaped pattern into the baklava, cutting through the layers to the bottom of the pan. Stud the top of the baklava with the whole cloves.
  6. Bake in the center of the pre-heated oven for 1 1/2 hours. For fan-forced ovens it may be necessary to cover the baklava with aluminum foil to prevent it becoming too dark.
  7. When baked through remove and cool to room temperature.
  8. To make the syrup:
  9. Place the sugar, honey, water, cloves, butter and cinnamon in a saucepan and stir to combine. Boil for 7 to 10 minutes, then remove the cloves and cinnamon, with a slotted spoon and add the lemon juice.
  10. Pour the boiling syrup over the room temperature baklava. Allow to cool to the touch and serve.

Cook’s Note

*If using frozen phyllo pastry defrost fully in the refrigerator before using to prevent the sheets sticking together. Store the sheets between damp tea towels while working, to prevent them drying out.

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