Baklava Experiment

For a recent potluck, I decided to be overly ambitious and try making baklava. I’d had a recipe* floating around that I kept eyeing and finally decided to give it a try – and it was absolutely worth the effort. The hard part (in reality more time-consuming than hard) is the phyllo pastry. Keeping it damp and not ripping it proved to be a bit of a challenge, but I very rarely use phyllo. Those who use it often, would probably find this recipe a breeze 🙂

Syrup

  • 2 tablespoons rose water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup water

Pastry

  • 18 sheets phyllo pastry
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 cups ground pistachios
  • 1 1/4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom

First, make the syrup. Mix the water and sugar together in a pot and bring to a boil. The sugar should be dissolved by this point. Boil for 10-15 minutes until a syrup-like consistency. Remove from heat and stir in rose water. Leave to cool.

Mix the ground nuts, icing sugar and cardamom together in a bowl.

Melt the butter. Spread a little butter on a pyrex baking tray. Take one sheet of phyllo and lay on top of baking tray and brush butter in a layer on top. Add next sheet of phyllo. Brush butter on top. Continue until you have 6 layers of phyllo. Add half the nut mixture and press firmly down with a spoon. Add 6 more layers of buttered phyllo and then the rest of the nut mixture. Add 6 final layers of buttered phyllo.

Using a sharp knife, cut the baklava into squares (or diamonds if you want). Pour the remaining melted butter over the top of the baklava.

Bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees. Bump up to 400 degrees for 10 more minutes until the top layer is puffed and crispy golden brown.

Once removed from oven, pour two thirds of your syrup over top. Reserve the remaining syrup to add while serving.

*recipe taken from Red Hot! A Cook’s Encyclopedia of Fire and Spice

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