Baklava is yummy…but it’s yummiest when it’s homemade. And it doesn’t have to be my home that makes it. It can be anyone’s home. I just think homemade baklava tends to have a little more flavor…a little more freshness…a little more somethin’ somethin’ than a lot of the baklava you buy.Not that I buy a lot of baklava in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. But still.
Baklava makes a great Christmas treat: give a whole pan to someone you love or split it up into portions and gift them in little boxes or bags. Your recipients will love you even more than they already do. Whether or not this is a desired outcome is something only you can decide. Just know it will happen.
Here’s how you make it:
First: Imagine a photo of a package of phyllo dough. Thank you for your cooperation.
Now, about the phyllo dough: It’s sold in frozen packages, so you need to remove the package from the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge 24 hours before you want to make the baklava. Then, about an hour beforehand, remove the package from the fridge and let it sit on the counter.
When you’re ready to make the baklava, throw chopped pecans or walnuts into a bowl or onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle on a teaspoon of cinnamon and toss them around to combine. Set these aside.
1/2 pound chopped pecans
1/2 pound chopped walnuts
2-3 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 pound package of Phyllo dough
1-1/2 cups butter, melted
2-1/2 cups honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
Mix nuts together in a large bowl and toss with the ground cinnamon. Set aside.
Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish.
Place 2 sheets of phyllo in the bottom of prepared dish. Brush generously with melted butter.
Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Repeat layers until all the nuts, butter, and phyllo are used.
End with about 6 layers of phyllo on the top. If you still have some butter left, brush it over the top layer.
Using a very sharp knife, cut through all layers of the baklava. Cut 3-4 sliced length-wise.
Then make diagonal cuts to make diamond shapes.
Bake in heated 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, until golden and crisp.
While baklava is baking, heat honey in a sauce pan until close to boiling. Stir in vanilla and lemon zest.
When baklava is done baking, immediately pour the honey mixture over the top.
Let cool completely in the pan.