My relationship with baklava has been a lengthy one. When Dad worked at Ford, he would come home with all kinds of gifts from people and companies he worked with. Gifts from all over the world sometimes. Everything from pens and keychains to cat figurines for my collection to trays of baklava.
My favorites now are the sandal keychain from some tropical place I can’t remember and some of the cat figurines. I can still see and hold them and get a chill remembering the excitement surrounding their arrival.
But at the time, my favorite was most definitely, without a single doubt, the baklava. Sure, maybe I had sophisticated taste for a six or seven year old, but it’s hard to deny the awesomeness of nutty sugar syrup soaked pastry that somehow remains a little crunchy. It’s basically a food miracle.
Then there was less awesome baklava from Costco and the grocery, but it was still baklava so I couldn’t complain.
The cravings have never stopped, but my tastes have changed, and even a trip for the best baklava in the country left me feeling underwhelmed.
It was time to make my own. It was a hit and vanished practically without a trace.
When my aunt and uncle came to visit, I knew I had to make it again. I couldn’t complain about having a little around the house and hanging on tighter to a few pieces for myself, but I really made it for my uncle. See, baklava is his all time favorite food. I like giving people gifts from the store, but to make something for someone, that takes things to another level.
He loved it, like really loved it, and I can totally see why. It really is the best baklava I have ever had and I highly doubt any other recipe will top it. It’s somehow light despite the butter, oh the butter, and it’s not too sweet, but you don’t want more sugar. It’s nutty and crunchy and then melts in your mouth, performing its little pastry magic trick.
Look, I’m not going to tell you this is easy to make. It’s time consuming. My least favorite part is the chopping of the nuts since I didn’t want to beat up my Vitamix, but if you have a food processor or blender, you’ll save time and hand cramps. The rest of the process is quite fun, actually, the layering and buttering and sprinkling.
Plus when you see and smell and taste the end result, the only question will be when to make it again.
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If you know anything about me, you know family is everything in my world. I don’t get to see my aunt and uncle a ton so I was suuuuuuppppper excited when they came for a visit Friday. We talked so much and went to my favorite spots in Detroit. The team at Prime + Proper took amazing care of us as always. We had the BEST food 🥩. If you haven’t been there what are you waiting for??? Then we went to Monarch Club for the best views and some Tigers fireworks 🎆🌇. There may have been a continuation of the fun @cash_only_detroit. But it wasn’t nearly enough time. Love you guys and hope to see you again soon ❤ #familytime #family #familygoals #parentsofinstagram #squadgoals #summervibes #yearofyes #michigansummer #summerofyes #primeandproper #primemeat #finedining #eatingout #diningout #bestnightever #takemeback #latergram #fashionistas #fireworks #detroit #detroiteats #detroitfoodie #monarchclub #babyyoureafirework #love #lovedones #positivevibesonly #goodvibesonly #behappy
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup honey
3 cinnamon sticks
2 pieces of orange rind
2 pieces of lemon rind
2 cups walnuts
2 cups shelled unsalted pistachios
1 tablespoon cinnamon
16 ounce package phyllo dough, thawed
3 sticks unsalted butter
Make the syrup. In a medium saucepan, stir together water, sugar, honey, cinnamon sticks, and citrus rind. For the rind, carefully use a vegetable peeler to make a long, wide, thin strip, trying to get only the rind and not the white pith.
Bring syrup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature before removing the cinnamon sticks and citrus rind.
Make the baklava. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Chop the nuts. You may do so in a food processor, with a chef’s knife, or my aunt said a Greek lady taught her to do it by placing the nuts in a bag and whacking them with a mallet or skillet. Your call! Stir the cinnamon into the chopped nut mixture.
Melt the butter in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl. Brush some butter into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 by 13 inch pan. Lay one sheet of phyllo into the bottom of the pan, brush with butter, coating it pretty thoroughly. Top with another sheet of phyllo and more butter. Repeat this pattern until you have 8 sheets of phyllo.
Sprinkle with about ¼ of the nut mixture, then begin layering phyllo and butter until there are six layered sheets. Another ¼ of the nuts goes on top, followed by six layers of phyllo and butter. Nuts, phyllo, the final ¼ of the nuts, and then layer 8 or 9 layers of butter and phyllo. I always have some phyllo left.
Brush the remaining butter (if there is any) over the top, concentrating around the sides and corners. Nowhere should be dry.
Using a sharp knife, cut the baklava into a pattern. I cut big and small logs and triangles. This is really where you can get creative and cut it however you would like. Bake about 50 minutes until golden brown, crispy, and flaky.
Pour the cooled syrup evenly over the hot baklava. Allow to cool completely, at least 4 hours, though overnight is better. Baklava may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks, but let’s be honest, it won’t last that long. If you want to freeze it, wrap pieces in plastic and foil and place in a zipper bag. Thaw at room temperature about an hour.
Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Keywords: dessert, nuts, baklava