Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Many Layers of Baklava #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Our daughter and son-in-law visited Turkey this fall and look at what they brought back to us: samples of one of my favorite desserts, baklava. Isn't that the best gift ever? Those tasty nuggets inspired me to try making it--again.

Quite a few years ago, I was asked to help our son's elementary school class make baklava. (They must have been studying food from various countries around the world.) Though I've always been a fan of this pastry, I had never had the nerve to try making it myself. Believe me, if a group of schoolkids could make it, anyone can:). The only problem we had was discovering occasional brush bristles in the finished pastry--this I blame on poor quality pastry brushes and intense paint strokes...


1 pound package of phyllo dough, thawed overnight, then brought to room temperature

1 pound walnuts or mixture of pistachios and walnuts (I used 1/3 salted pistachios and 2/3 walnuts)

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 sticks unsalted butter, melted

12 ounces honey

Chop the walnuts and pistachios finely in a food processor and then add the sugar and cinnamon and pulse to combine these.  Set this aside.

Remove the phyllo dough from the package and unroll it on a clean counter. Butter a 13 x 9" baking dish and layer in 8 of the phyllo sheets, one at a time, buttering each sheet with a pastry brush dipped in the melted butter.

As you work, cover the remaining sheets of phyllo with a damp towel so they don't dry out. (Don't sweat any little tears--they won't show up in the end.)
Pour 1 cup of the nut mixture over the eight layers of phyllo and spread this evenly to the edges. Continue to layer eight more sheets of dough, painting each with melted butter. 

Spread another cup of the nut mixture over the top. Repeat the layers and the nut mixture until all the nuts are used, ending with phyllo. 

With a sharp knife, cut the baklava into diamond shapes. Bake at 325° for 45 minutes or until golden. 

Remove the dish from the oven and drizzle honey over the dough until it does not absorb any further. To the left is the honeyed pastry before it has soaked in. (I used a full one pound jar of local honey.) Then sprinkle with some ground up pistachios if you like that look. (I did.)

Let cool and sit for six hours or overnight, then serve at room temperature, well wrapped. Oh the agony of waiting! But it's worth it. My guests told me this was the best baklava they had ever eaten. My hub and I had to agree. 

These little squares could make a splendid addition to a Christmas cookie platter!

Question:  How is a good mystery like a piece of baklava? 

Answer: Many layers!

 DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS is here in time for Christmas stockings! 

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  1. I am so glad you posted this recipe. I love Baklava but was always scared to try it. You make it sound so easy. I will be giving this a try.

    1. It takes a little time, but it's not HARD. and so delish--thanks Babs, let me know how it turns out! xo

  2. YUM!!!! My son and his family are currently living in Turkey and have become quite spoiled with the delicious desserts (and food) there. The many dishes served at breakfast make my mouth water!! I usually buy my baklava at an ethnic bakery, but may have to give it a try now that you showed us how to make it.
    As far as the pastry brush Christmas I made a lovely cake in a bundt pan which was then to be brushed all over with a syrup. It was picture perfect, until I lifted the cake plate up to admire it and could see that the cake was covered with bristles from my (cheap) pastry brush!!!! Been using silicone brushes every since.

    1. tee hee hee, Sharon, there's nothing worse than a mouthful of bristles! thank you for your tip about silicone brush. Maybe Santa will bring one... xo

  3. That trip to Turkey must have been amazing--and delicious. What a lovely gift from your daughter and SIL--and for us with your recipe share. Thanks, Lucy/Roberta, have a great week!

    1. You have a great week too Cleo! You're up early this morning:) xo

  4. One of those desserts that seems like a work of art. Thanks for sharing!

  5. "Question: How is a good mystery like a piece of baklava?

    Answer: Many layers!"
    With some characters that are flaky!

    This looks mouth-watering good!

  6. My comment disappeared so I'll try again: I'm so happy you posted this today, Lucy/Roberta, as I've recently read Diana Abu-Jaber's memoir THE LANGUAGE OF BAKLAVA, and ever since then I've had baklava on the brain. Your blog and wonderful photos gave me the incentive to try making your version of this wonderful treat ASAP! Many thanks.

  7. Isn't that a great memoir Lynn? Love her writing. Enjoy the baklava:)