Baghlava ( Baklava )
Baklava is traditional Mediterranean treat using phyllo dough. The filling varies from ground walnuts to almonds or pistachios. Greeks use a honey syrup to sweeten their baklava while the Persians use a rose water syrup.
1 pound Phyllo Dough Sheets - 1-½ cup Pistachios - 1-½ cup Almonds - 1-½ cup Walnuts - 1 Tablespoon Cardamom - 2 cups Sugar, Divided - 3 sticks Butter - ¾ cups Water - ½ cups Honey - 1 Tablespoon Rose Water
Preparation Instructions :
1. In a food processor, grind the walnuts, almonds and pistachios (shelled). Stir in cardamon and half of the sugar.
2. Get out a pan, preferably the size of your phyllo dough sheets, and wrap it completely in foil (front and back) to ensure proper distribution of heat.
3. Melt the butter. Using a pastry brush, spread some of the butter on the foil, making sure to get the corners. Lay a sheet or two of phyllo dough on the pan. Using the pastry brush, spread butter on the sheet. Continue layering and buttering until 1/3 of the phyllo dough is used (usually 6-8 sheets). Pour half of the nut mixture in the pan and spread evenly. Drizzle with butter using a spoon, and continue layering and buttering using another third of the phyllo dough. Spread remainder of nut mixture and drizzle with butter.
4. Continue layering and buttering the last third of the phyllo sheets. Do not butter the last sheet of phyllo dough. Use a sharp knife and cut the baklava into desired shapes and sizes; isosceles triangles are the conventional cut, and you do not have to cut all the way through the dough.
5. Drizzle more butter over the baklava, trying not to use the white part as it burns easily. Again, pay close attention to the corners. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
6. While the baklava is baking, in a medium saucepan, combine the water, honey and remaining sugar on low heat and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. The sauce should be rather thin, but thicker than water. If the mixture seems too thick, turn it off and wait for the baklava to finish baking. If not, continue to simmer until the baklava is done.
7. Once the baklava is done, stir the rose water into the honey mixture and pour it onto the baklava evenly, making sure to get into the cut marks (this must be done while the baklava is fresh and hot from the oven).
8. Let the baklava cool completely. Cut again and serve. I usually place each triangle in a cupcake liner for easy eating.
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