Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Here's the second of the separate recipes from my Christmas in Bethlehem menu, and the recipe that most needed the accompanying pictures, in my opinion. Baklava is a total party dessert--- gorgeous in presentation, completely indulgent, and a little more time consuming to prepare than you'd want for a dessert for any old night. I highly recommend having an extra set of hands to help you during the assembly process, since you need to move rather quickly to keep the phyllo sheets from drying out. The process, although time consuming, is rather simple and you'll absolutely love the WOW factor that this dessert brings!
1 pkg. (16-ounces) phyllo dough (in the refrigerated or freezer section)
1 lb. chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
1 cup butter ( I ended up needing an additional stick)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey
Directions: Preheat oven to 350°. Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9x13-inch pan. Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon.
Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough. Cut whole stack in half to fit pan (my phyllo sheets were just the right size already, so I did not need to cut them).
Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 6-8 sheets deep.
(In summary: It will start off with 8 buttered sheets, nut mixture, then 2 buttered sheets, then nuts, repeated until nuts are gone and there are 6-8 sheets left for the top layer).
NOTE: It really helps if you have a helper during this part. I had my son doing the buttering, while I placed the fragile phyllo sheets, and my daughter sprinkled the nuts. It made it go much more smoothly that way.
Here it is when the layering is complete:
Using a sharp knife cut into diamond shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. (You may want to plan a cutting pattern before you begin. Mine did not turn out as pretty as I'd hoped.)
Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp. (this is the baklava I made last year and I liked the cutting pattern on this one much better than the one I did this year [pictured above] even though the pieces were triangular rather than diamond shaped)
Make syrup while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until sugar is dissolved. Add vanilla and honey and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon syrup over it.
Let cool. Serve in cupcake papers. Freezes well. Store uncovered (or it will get soggy). Enjoy!
Originally from allrecipes.com