Baklava is Turkey's most famous dessert. It consists of whole or chopped pistachio nuts enclosed between paper thin layers of phyllo pastry, drizzled with a honey based syrup. It makes a deliciously sweet and nutty dessert or a treat to serve with aromatic Turkish coffee.
Mix the chopped nuts, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 ground cloves. Melt butter. Cut phyllo in half so that each sheet fits the bottom of the baking pan.
Generously butter the bottom and sides of the baking pan and place the phyllo, one sheet at a a time, in the baking pan. Generously spread butter on each sheet of phyllo as it is placed in the pan.
Every 6 to 8 sheets of phyllo spread a layer of nut mix. Continue layering phyllo sheets and walnuts until phyllo is complete. Pour any remaining butter over top of the baklava.
With a sharp knife, cut the baklava diagonally to form diamond shaped pieces. Don't cut all the way through.
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) degrees and bake the baklava for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
Cut through now into diamond pieces and serve.
Place water, honey, 2 cups of sugar, 1/4 tsp ground clove, and 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon in a sauce pan, mix, heat and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes and allow it to cool for another 15 minutes.
Pour the still warm syrup over the cool baklava and allow to cool completely again.
When cool serve individual pieces with strong -Turkish- sweet coffee and dried apricots for an exquisite dessert.
The secret to good flaky phyllo pastry and therefore to a great baklava is to have each sheet of phyllo well buttered so that the sheets do not stick together.
The best way to break the nuts into small pieces is to place them in a large plastic bag -one with a zip is a good idea. Press out the air and close tight. Use a rolling pin, and roll back and forth over the nuts until the pieces are the size you want them.
Use ideally a 9x13-inch heat resistant glass baking dish.
Use a sharp paring knife to cut the phyllo in square or diamond shapes as a decoration. It is not necessary to cut the phyllo all the way through before cooking, as it is easier to handle that way. Cut the diamond pieces once the baklava is cooled.
Prepare the syrup while the baklava is in the oven. Use a cinnamon stick instead of the powdered version if you prefer.
Would you like a new experience? Use rose water for the syrup instead of ordinary one.
Learn more about Turkish baklava