On Saturday we are going to a Mediterranean dinner and guess what I have been asked to bring…BAKLAVA!! Lebanese style, of course. Most people think its very complicated to make, but I’ll share with you my easy recipe, complete with pictures. The recipe is straight out of my memoir-cookbook, Eat Where You Are.
Making Baklava has to be one of the most satisfying experiences I have had in the kitchen, aside from making bread from scratch. This method was taught to me by my Uncle Eddy, a great Lebanese chef, some years back.
We will be making rolls of baklava.
Syrup: make this first.
6 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3-4 Tbsp orange blossom water (found in specialty/international section of grocery store)
Combine sugar and water in a pot; stir until dissolved and then boil it over medium heat for five minutes. Add lemon juice and orange blossom water and boil for five more minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool.
While the syrup is cooling, make the baklava:
4 ½ cups of crushed unsalted pistachio nuts
1 ¼ cup sugar
2 – 3 Tbsp orange blossom water
Combine these three ingredients in a bowl.
You will also need:
2 packages of fyllo dough (in the refrigerated or frozen section of the grocery store). Keep the fyllo dough covered with a damp tea towel until needed as it dries out quickly.
1 cup of melted butter
Place 2 sheets of fyllo on the counter or cutting board and brush them with the melted butter.
Place a not too thick line of the nut mixture across the center, width ways.
Take one end of the pastry and fold it over to the opposite end, covering the nuts. Tuck a little fold under the nuts and roll it all the way to the end, like a jellyroll.
Lay this roll in a 9 X 13 greased glass-baking dish and brush with butter. Then make another roll and place it beside the first one. Repeat this procedure until you have used up all the nut mixture. You will need three or four pans. Using a sharp knife gently cut across the rolls in each pan, making cuts every 2 inches.
Bake in the oven at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes. The baklava should just be starting to brown when you take it out of the oven.
Immediately pour cold syrup over the baklava in each pan, using all the syrup. It looks like a lot but the syrup will be all absorbed. Let it cool completely before eating.