Most people think of baklava as strictly a Greek dessert. It is also a big part of my beloved Lebanese cuisine that I grew up on though! In Arabic it is actually spelled baklawa. This recipe for baklava is family tradition at its best. Nana Jeanie made this treat often and taught my mother. She in turn taught me! This is her incredible recipe to the letter and I love it so much.
Once it cooled a bit it was time to serve. Oh my goodness, it was just how my mom and nana made it. So many memories flooded back when I tasted it. The baklava was decadent without being cloyingly sweet. Hope you all enjoy this classic as much as my family always has! xoxo
- 1 pound phyllo dough
- 1 pound walnuts coarsely ground
- 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 pound butter melted
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 whole lemon sliced
- 2 tablespoons honey
- First, make sure that the phyllo dough is wrapped in a wet kitchen towel as it thaws in its plastic covering. This will keep it from drying out. Prepare the walnut filling. I used my food processor to grind the walnuts pretty finely but still keeping some texture. Then stir the ground walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon together in a mixing bowl. Set it aside. Preheat the oven to 350 and get out a 9 x 13 baking dish. Brush the bottom of the baking dish liberally with a little of the melted butter.
- Take half of the thawed phyllo dough, leaving the other half still wrapped in the wet towel. Gently roll it out flat. Layer each sheet of it one by one in the baking dish, brushing lots of the melted butter in between each sheet. If it tears a little, not to worry! Once the first half of phyllo dough is layered in the pan, evenly layer the walnut mixture on top of it. Then repeat the process of layering the phyllo with the second half of the dough to top off the baklava.
- With a sharp knife, cut diagonal parallel lines from one side of the pan to the other. Then cut the same lines going the opposite way to cut the baklava into the classic diamond shapes. Get the baking dish into the oven to bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300 and let it continue to bake for another 40-45 minutes.
- When there is about 20 minutes left of baking time, prepare the syrup. Combine the sugar, water and lemon slices in a sauce pan and heat it up over medium high heat. Let it gently boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the 15 minutes is up, remove the lemon slices and stir in the honey. Take the pot off of the heat and let it cool for around 5 minutes. It needs to cool enough so that it doesn't wilt the baklava but it also shouldn't cool so much that it hardens. Stir occasionally while it cools.
- Take the baklava out when its done and immediately pour the syrup all over it. It will just melt all over it and make it gloriously sticky. Let it cool enough to handle, then cut out the individual little diamonds and serve! It will also keep sealed up in an airtight container for a couple of days. Enjoy!