Baklava is the most famous of the Greek pastries, and every area of Greece - and sometimes every family within a region - has a favorite recipe. Enjoy this favorite of mine, made with walnuts and almonds, olive oil, cinnamon, and cloves. The recipe is a modified version of a Cretan specialty from Roman times, Gastrin.
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
1lbof large phyllo sheets14 x 18 inch, 20 - 22 sheets
4cupsC of chopped walnuts
4cupsC of chopped unsalted blanched almonds
1/2 - 3/4cupolive oil
4-5Tbspbottled soda water
2Tbsplemon juiceabout 1 lemon
2Tbsplemon juiceabout 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 350-355°F (180°C).
Oil the bottom and sides of a 17 X 13 inch (or equivalent) rectangular baking pan. Place a sheet of phyllo in the pan and brush with a little oil (or butter). Allow any overlap to hang out the sides. Repeat until there are 4 sheets on the bottom. Spoon one third of the nut mixture evenly over the pastry. Add two more sheets of pastry, brushed with oil (or butter). Spoon a little of the nut mixture over the pastry and repeat until all but 4 sheets of phyllo remain. Top the pastry with 4 sheets, each brushed with oil (or butter), except the top sheet. Tuck any overlapping phyllo dough under itself, on top of the filling.
Score the pastry in pieces using a razor blade, and follow up with a sharp knife, cutting all the way through. To make triangles: cut the pastry into squares, then, cut squares in half diagonally to make triangles.
Sprinkle just the top of the pastry with 4-5 tablespoons of soda water (to get best results, use a spray bottle). Bake on the rack just below the middle of the oven 350-355°F (180°C) until golden (about 45 minutes).
Note: The cooked baklava may have white spots on top. These are from the soda water and will disappear after the syrup is added.
Unlike many other baklava recipes, hot syrup is poured over the hot pastry.
Both syrup recipes are prepared the same way:
* Bring the syrup ingredients to a boil.
* Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, then remove cinnamon.
* Pour the hot syrup carefully and evenly over the hot baklava as soon as it comes out of the oven, making sure to cover the sides and corners.
Allow the baklava to cool thoroughly and absorb the syrup before serving (at least 3-4 hours).
Notes About Butter: I don't recommend using butter, but if you must, substitute 1 1/2 cups of melted unsalted butter for the olive oil. If there is any butter (not oil) left after making the baklava, omit the soda water spray and pour it over the top before baking.How Do You Like Your Baklava? Some love a chewy baklava. If this is your preference, refrigeration is the secret. After cooking, cool the baklava completely. Cover well and refrigerate for a day. Bring to room temperature before serving.This recipe can be made with either a honey or sugar syrup. Ingredients are given for both; see preparation details below.
Defrost phyllo dough according to package directions. (See Phyllo Basics)
In a large bowl, combine the walnuts and almonds with the sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. Mix will with hands or a large whisk until thoroughly blended.
Recipe provided by Lenten Season (https://www.lenten-season.com)