I am officially on Winter Break! Woohoo! I generally enjoy finals week since it’s a change of pace from the rest of the semester, but this time I had a pretty rough finals schedule: 3 finals on the very last day so I had a LOT of grading to do on Thursday. Luckily I’m all done now and have 2 weeks of sweet vacation to enjoy! 🙂
Since I’m at home with my parents, my mom and I decided to make Baklava. She usually makes it around Christmastime as a holiday treat and thankfully she waited until I came home so we could make it together!
Now I may be a little biased, but this is THE BEST baklava. Ever. And it doesn’t get more traditional than this. It’s delicious! If you want a traditional Greek baklava, this is the recipe for you to try.
Start by preheating your oven to 375. Begin the nut mixture. Take 1 pound of walnuts and put them in a plastic bag and pound on them with a meat tenderizer until they are somewhat crushed/chopped. You don’t want any giant pieces in the baklava, but they don’t have to be very fine either. Alternatively, if you have a grinder you could use that to grind them as well (medium ground).
Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon ground cloves to the nuts and mix well. Set the nut mixture aside.
Take 4 sticks of unsalted butter, and melt them in a sauce pan.
Prepare your 10×15 inch baking pan by brushing the bottom with melted butter.
Next get your baklava station set up. You should have the buttered pan, nuts, melted butter with a brush, and a clean surface for the fillo dough set up.
Take 1 box fillo dough. Take 6 sheets out of the roll, then cover the rest with a squeezed-out wet towel so they don’t dry out.
Line the bottom of your pan with 1 fillo sheet. Brush the sheet with butter.
Repeat until 6 fillo sheets line the bottom of the pan. Brush the top with butter.
Then, sprinkle with 3/4 cup nut mixture.
Prepare 9 more fillo sheets. Cover pan with 1 fillo sheet. Brush the top of the sheet with butter.
Repeat until 3 sheets cover the nut mixture. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup nut mixture. Repeat 3 sheets/nut mixture process 2 more times, using all the nut mixture.
Place remaining fillo sheets on top (should be about 5-6 sheets), alternating with butter. Brush top with butter. Be liberal with the butter!
Next, trim the sides of the baklava with a sharp knife or razor blade. My mom always uses a razor blade.
Then, use the razor blade to cut the baklava into 2 inch diamond pieces. Don’t cut through the whole baklava – only cut through the top layer so it cuts neatly later.
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. While the baklava is baking, start on the syrup.
Combine 3 cups granulated sugar, 3 cups water, 1 slice lemon, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 whole cloves, and 2 tablespoons honey in a sauce pan and bring to a slow boil. Let the syrup boil slowly until medium thick. Cool.
Pour cooled syrup over warm baklava. Cool completely before cutting.
The Best Baklava Ever
1 lb. walnuts, chopped or medium ground
1 lb. fillo dough (1 box)
1 lb. unsalted butter (4 sticks)
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 cups granulated sugar
3 cups water
1 slice lemon
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
2 Tbsp. honey
- Preheat oven to 375. Place walnuts in plastic bag, then pound with meat tenderizer until medium-crushed. Add sugar, cinnamon, and cloves to the nuts. Mix, then set aside.
- Melt butter in sauce pan. Brush the bottom of a 10×15 in. baking pan with melted butter. Prepare fillo dough: have 6 sheets ready and cover the rest with a squeezed-out wet towel. Line the bottom of the pan with 1 fillo sheet, then brush with butter. Repeat until 6 pastry sheets line the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup nut mixture. Cover with fillo sheet, then brush with butter. Repeat 2 more times, then sprinkle with 3/4 cup nut mixture. Repeat this process 2 more times, using all the nut mixture. Place remaining fillo sheets on top (should be 5-6), alternating with butter. Brush the top with butter. Trim the edges of the fillo, then use a sharp knife or razor blade to cut the top layer of the baklava into 2 inch diamond pieces. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
- While baklava is baking, make the syrup. Combine sugar, water, lemon, cinnamon, cloves, and honey in a sauce pan and bring to a slow boil. Let the syrup boil until medium thick. Cool.
- Pour cooled syrup over warm baklava. Let cool completely before cutting.