Monday, May 24, 2010


Around my eighteenth birthday, I took a trip with my parents to Greece.  We spent about two weeks traveling through Athens and the nearby islands.  It was wonderful!  One of my favorite things was eating massive amounts of pastry and a dessert called baklava.

If you've read my blog much, you know that I don't approve of baking nuts into dessert.  This is my one exception.  You can't make Baklava without nuts, and you wouldn't want it any other way.

It's a layered dessert, and it's as simple to assemble as lasagna.  I used this recipe.


  • 1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
  • 1 pound chopped nuts
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup honey


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(175 degrees C). Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon. Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough. Cut whole stack in half to fit pan. Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work. Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle 2 - 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 6 - 8 sheets deep.
  3. Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. You may cut into 4 long rows the make diagonal cuts. Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.

  4. Make sauce while baklava is baking (Remember, I made this ahead, and used it cold.) Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let cool. Serve in cupcake papers. This freezes well. Leave it uncovered as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up.

There's really no point in copying the nutritional information, it's sad and depressing to look at the calories of such a beautiful dish.

I followed the directions almost exactly, because I'd never made it before.  I did however take three days to make it.  I'll explain.

First, I chopped the nuts in my food processor.  I used the nuts I had in my cupboards.  Peanuts, Candied Cashews, and Almonds.  Then I realized I hadn't thawed my frozen phyllo dough, and left the nuts on the counter until the next day.  Then I put the dough in the fridge to thaw.

Then next day, I prepared the honey sauce.  Then, because some of the All Recipes reviewers suggested using a cooled sauce, I put that in the fridge and waited until the next afternoon to assemble to whole thing.  I also took another reviewers suggestion and roasted the nuts with the cinnamon.  Do that.  

I tried a piece directly after the honey shower while it was still warm, and it was not nearly as good as the cooled version a few hours later.

Hubby didn't like nuts, even in this.  He's might be culinarily challenged.  It made about 30 large pieces. I could have halved each one again.  I froze all but two plates (ten pieces), one of which I am not ashamed to admit I ate.  The other went to a friend.  I took another two plates from the freezer later that week and served them at a church meeting.  Another went to someone's birthday party.  A hit every time!

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