A friend recently asked me to help her make Baklava for her son’s wedding as I had made it many times in the past. It might look difficult to make but it’s pretty simple, and also freezes well… so it is the perfect pastry for a big event! Since I know another friend who makes them quite often, I called her to compare our recipes and in addition, got a few extra tips from her.
I typically prefer to use the Athens brand of filo(or phyllo) dough which has 2 sealed packets of rolls so if I don’t need a large quantity I can halve the recipe. (There are other brands which come in long rolls with only one sealed packet.) Its easier to roll up the pastry, versus making the traditionally shaped baklava. I froze the baklava in the cookie tray that I baked them in, covered with heavy duty aluminum foil. When ready to use them, simply thaw out and arrange the pieces on your serving platter.
1 package of filo dough, thawed
3 cups shelled walnuts, pulsed in a food processor (not too fine or coarse)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
4 ounces (1 stick of butter) melted till the solids separate out (or ghee)
1 1/4 sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon lime juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the walnuts, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside. Use a cookie sheet with sides, and brush the entire pan with butter.
Remove 2 sheets of filo pastry, (keep the remaining pastry sheets covered by a damp cloth) brush very lightly with butter.
Fold the pastry in half, and then take about 2 tablespoons of the nut mixture and place it along one side.
Roll the pastry up tightly. Brush again with butter and stack along the width of the cookie sheet. Continue with the remaining pastry sheets.
Trim the ends and score into 5 to 6 pieces along the entire length (not cut cutting all the way through). As you can tell, I completely forgot to trim the ends before baking to make it look neater!
Bake for 25 minutes until the rolls are medium brown. While baking, make the syrup.
Place the sugar, water, honey and lime juice in a saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar has melted. Continue to simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes.
Pour the hot syrup over the rolls as soon as they come out of the oven. When cool remove to serving platter. (If freezing, cover with heavy duty aluminum foil) Garnish with extra chopped walnuts.
Makes about 144 rolls.