Baklava, it's a rich and delicious dessert made with phyllo ( fillo ) pastry, which is layered with nuts and drizzled with sugar and honey syrup. I have tasted this a couple of times, but mostly store bought and I was not that much impressed by the taste. But, couple of years back, I tasted a homemade version of this delicious dessert, it was simply too good, the baked pastry was crispy and at the same time juicy from the syrup. I didn't get a chance to ask for the recipe and then I totally forgot about it. After that time, I have tasted some store bought versions, but nothing came close to that homemade version. I have never tried looking for it in Bangalore, but then, when I saw Phyllo Pastry in the freezer section of the grocery store, I just had to pick it up. I had a couple of dishes in my mind that I want to try with it, the topmost being this super delicious Baklava and I found the perfect recipe here. Working with phyllo pastry needs some patience, you have to be very gentle with it, it took me almost an hour to layer the sheets. I made it yesterday evening, I had to wait till today morning to taste it, the baklava has to soak in the syrup. I took the first bite, Hurrah!, it tasted just like the one that I had tasted so many years back, it was worth all the effort, time and wait..
Need To Have
- Phyllo Pastry - 10 sheets
- Coarsely Ground Walnuts - 1 cup
- Unsalted Butter - 7 to 8 tablespoons
- Cinnamon Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
- Chopped Walnuts to Garnish
For The Syrup
- Granulated Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Honey - 1/4 cup
- Lemon Juice - 1 tablespoon
- Water - 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
Take the sugar, honey, lemon juice and water, heat it and bring it to a boil while mixing it for the sugar to dissolve. Once the sugar has dissolved, let it simmer on low heat for about 4 minutes, without stirring. Remove it and let it cool completely. Mix the coarsely ground walnuts and cinnamon powder and keep.
Thaw the frozen phyllo pastry according to the directions given on the pack, mine said to thaw it at room temperature for 4 hours. I have used a 8.5 x 4.75 size pan, I used 10 sheets of pastry, I cut each sheet into 3 to roughly fit the baking pan, so totally I had 30 sheets, roll and immediately refrigerate the remaining sheets. Now grease the pan with melted butter, then layer it with pastry sheet, brush it with butter, then layer another sheet, keep repeating for 9 sheets.
Spread 1/4 cup of the walnut mixture, then again start layering the sheets, only 4 this time, then spread another 1/4 cup of the walnut mixture, repeat another 4 sheets and 1/4 cup walnut mixture two more times, then layer with the remaining 9 sheets, don't forget to butter the sheets. So it goes like, 9 sheets, walnut mix, 4 sheets, walnut mix, 4 sheets, walnut mix, 4 sheets, walnut mix, last 9 sheets, so you have used up the 30 sheets of pastry. Brush the top with butter, then using a sharp knife, slice the pieces.
Bake it at 165 C for about 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes, till the top turns golden in color. Remove it from the oven and evenly drizzle the sugar and honey syrup immediately. Let it cool for 6 to 8 hours or overnight, then serve it garnished with more walnuts.
Be gentle with the pastry sheets, while layering a sheet, keep the others covered with a damp towel.
The pastry that I used was 97% fat free, so I didn't want to skimp on the butter, the fat is needed for the baking.
Slice the pieces really well, otherwise you'll not get neat pieces after baking.
The baklava layers should be crunchy when you bite into it and at the same time juicy from the sugar syrup but it should not be soggy, that's the perfect baklava.