You can find baklava in many grocery stores and bakeries. These pastries come in many shapes and sizes and are traditionally diamond shaped, available with a variety of nut fillings, walnuts being most commonly used. What separates this baklava from store-bought is the clarified butter, the homemade syrup, and the fact that it is freshly baked from your oven. This sweet, crisp walnut strudel is so easy to prepare and is a delicious addition at any gathering (see photo).
A food processor, pastry brush, and a 9 × 13 × 2-inch baking pan.
You can bake baklava up to 3 days in advance. Cool completely and store in an airtight container. It can be refrigerated prior to baking for several days or frozen unbaked for several months. When refrigerating or freezing unbaked baklava, do not cut it into pieces until ready to bake. Press plastic wrap up against the top of the baklava and seal it around the edges to keep the moisture in; then place the pan in an airtight bag. When frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Always bring it to room temperature prior to baking.
Combine the walnuts and sugar in a bowl. Mix in the mazaher, using the back of a spoon to press the mazaher into the walnuts and sugar until evenly blended and the nuts seem damp. Set aside.
Count the sheets of fillo dough (the number of sheets in a pound of fillo varies from box to box). Divide them, using one-third of the sheets for the bottom,
Transfer the walnut mixture to the pan. Use the tines of a fork to evenly distribute the mixture up to the corners and sides, right up to the fillo. Fold the pieces of fillo that are draped over the sides in and over the walnut mixture and brush them with butter.
Continue layering the sheets of fillo, brushing each sheet with butter before placing the next. (Always brush them from the corners and edges, working your way toward the center.) Carefully arrange the final
Place a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the baklava pan, and use a flat pancake turner to press down evenly over the entire top. (Doing this before cutting the baklava into individual pieces will ensure that the layers are even and will bake together.) Remove the plastic wrap and make 5 cuts lengthwise (from one side to the other), about
Prior to serving the baklava, go over the cuts to loosen the individual pieces from the tray. Garnish the top of each piece with a pinch of ground pistachios. Serve at room temperature.
You can substitute
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