It's been awhile. Too long.
See this flaky pastry? Well over a month old. Not that it's still around, mind you.
Nope, the baklava didn't last long. As the moving boxes bulged, so did our bellies. Before long, all of these tasty little triangles had disappeared and I was reduced to hiding among towers of neatly stacked boxes to scrape flecks of syrup-drenched phyllo from the pan. You think I'm kidding.
Yesiree, many things have changed since we moved, but a lot has stayed the same too. I'm still crumb hunting, for one, although I have since moved on to dulce de leche brownies and—as the boxes dwindle—find myself left with fewer and fewer places to conduct this clandestine activity.
I've still got a Frigidaire in my kitchen, but this one is 40 years newer (give or take a decade) and a whole lot sleeker. While I'm sorting outs its hot spots and finding new homes for all of my kitchen gadgets, why don't you get to chopping some nuts for your baklava?
By the time you're reduced to licking the pan of phyllo flakes and syrup drops, I should be back into the swing of things.
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
1 lemon, halved
1 orange, halved
1 1/2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
2/3 cup honey
3 1/4 cups whole almonds with skins, finely chopped
2 1/3 cups walnuts, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
28 sheets of phyllo dough, thawed
To prepare the syrup, combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Add the lemon and orange juices, the fruit halves and the cinnamon sticks. Bring the mixture to a boil over moderate heat, uncovered. Stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved, then simmer 10 minutes. Stir in the honey and return to a boil. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Strain the cooled mixture and discard the solids. Chill, uncovered, until cold (about 1 hour).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Whisk together the almonds, walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.
Generously brush a 9" x 13" glass baking dish with melted butter. Halve phyllo sheets crosswise, stack the sheets and keep them covered with a lightly dampened kitchen towel while you work Lay 2 sheets of phyllo in the bottom of the baking dish and brush the top sheet generously with butter. Continue layering sheets 2 at a time, staggering each set slightly to cover the bottom of the dish and brushing every second sheet generously with butter, until you have used 10 sheets of phyllo in total. After brushing the last layer with butter, spread a rounded 1 1/2 cups of nut mixture on top. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons butter.
Repeat the layering process 3 more times. Top with 10 more sheets of phyllo. (You will use 50 sheets of phyllo in total.) Butter the top and let the baklava stand at room temperature to set (about 10 to 15 minutes).
Using a sharp knife, cut the baklava into 16 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle in half diagonally.
Bake until golden (about 50-60 minutes). Immediately move the pan to a cooling rack and, while still hot, slowly pour the cold syrup around the edges, in the cuts and over the top. Let stand at room temperature for at least 8 hours. Cover the baklava once it reaches room temperature.
Store baklava in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Source: Epicurious; originally published in Gourmet, June 2004.
Labels: Bars and squares, Desserts