Friday, October 31, 2008

Baklava

1 package filo dough
3 cups finely ground walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
21/2 sticks unsalted butter

Defrost filo the night before in the fridge. Do not open box. You will need a cookie sheet size baking pan. The baking pan should be the heavy kind so the baklava, since it cooks for a while, not to burn but to slow bake.
Open the filo package and decide which way, according to the shape of your pan, you will layer the dough. If you have not worked with this specific dough before it is good to cover it,while you are working with it, with a dumb tea towel, so not to loose the moisture and dry up. It will if you do not work fast enough.
So first you melt the butter and mix the filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Start layering the dough while you are brushing it with the melted butter. You will need a clean pastry brush. So you layer about 8 buttered sheets of dough and then spread ½ of the walnut filling. Add one more sheet brushed with butter and spread the rest of the filling. If you have followed directions you are almost done. All you have to do now is to continue brushing the rest of the dough until you run out of it. If you have left over butter just pour it on top.
Now the most important part is to cut the baklava in small diagonal pieces, otherwise it will crumble if you try to cut it after it is cooked. So you bake it now in a 340 preheated oven in the lower middle. Bake it until it has a nice golden cold color for about 1 hour.
While the baklava is cooking prepare the syrup.

Syrup

In a heavy saucepan mix 3 cups of sugar, 1 1/2 cups water and ½ cup corn syrup, 1/2 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp vanilla. Allow syrup to cook and simmer for about 5-7 minutes. When baklava comes out of the oven, pour warm syrup over the dessert and allow to stay for 1 hour before you serve it. Baklava can keep after it is room temperature in an airtight container for at least 4 weeks. Enjoy!

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