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Baklava

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Level: Intermediate

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Description

One of the most popular Greek traditions is baklava and it is de-li-cious!

Ingredients

  • FOR THE SYRUP:
  • 1-½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ cups Honey
  • 1 cup Water
  • ¼ cups Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Freshly Grated Lemon Zest
  • FOR THE FILLING:
  • ⅓ cups Walnuts, Finely Chopped
  • ⅓ cups Almonds, Finely Chopped
  • ⅓ cups Pistachios, Shells Removed And Finely Chopped
  • 1-½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • FOR THE BAKLAVA:
  • ¾ cups Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 package Phyllo (filo Or Fillo) Dough (16 Ounce Package), Defrosted
  • 4 ounces, weight Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips, Melted (optional)

Preparation

For the syrup:
In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, honey, water, lemon juice and zest. Place the saucepan on the stove and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. As soon as it comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low and allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.

For the filling:
In a large bowl, combine the walnuts, almonds, pistachios and cinnamon. Mix with a heavy wooden spoon until all is combined. Set aside.

For the baklava:
Preheat your oven to 350 F and spray a 9×13 inch oven safe baking dish with non-stick baking spray.

Unroll your phyllo dough out onto a cutting board and trim the dough to 9x13in sheets (so that it fits snugly into the baking dish). Discard the scraps. Lay one sheet of phyllo dough into the baking dish, and brush the top with melted butter. Lay another sheet on top of the other buttered sheet and butter the top of that one as well. Continue this process for 6 more sheets, continuously buttering each individual sheet.

Take about half of your nut mixture and spread gently on top of the 8 sheets of buttered phyllo dough. Place another phyllo sheet on top of the nut mixture and again brush with butter. Continue this phyllo buttering process, again, for 7 more sheets. Now, spread the rest of the nut mixture gently on top of the second set of phyllo sheets.

Place yet another phyllo sheet on top of the second layer of nut mixture and butter the top. Continue this step for the rest of the phyllo sheets (should be roughly 7 more). You will have used 24 sheets of phyllo dough by this stage. Press down gently on the final sheet so that the baklava compresses just a tad, then generously slather the remaining sheet with butter. Place the dish in the fridge for about 5-10 minutes.

Once the 5-10 minutes has passed, remove the dish from the fridge and gently score the top of the baklava to create a diamond shape with a very sharp paring knife. To do this, score the pastry parallel to the 9 inch side of the baking sheet in 1½ inch sections. Then create another series of score lines at a 45 degrees angle to the parallel lines. You will have created a diamond shape by doing this.

Bake the baklava, uncovered at 350 F for 40 minutes or until the top has browned slightly. Remove from oven and immediately gently drizzle your syrup on top, using all of it. Let it rest for about 1½ hours and then serve. Drizzle with melted chocolate (optional). Store at room temperature, covered for about a week. Enjoy!

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