I feel like this is the dawn of a new era, in which I coerce random acquaintances and family members into being a part of my YouTube channel. Largely against their will. Stay tuned, I might be the next Paula Deen! But probably not.
This week, my first victim guest was none other than Mama Leavitt. She agreed to teach me how to make baklava –the food of my people- and impart very scarce wisdom upon this blog.
Baklava is one of those things that you either hate or love (though I truly don’t understand how people could hate it. It’s like the Jennifer Lawrence of pastries: unpretentious and widely loved). I brought it back to university with me and within a day it was gone. This is largely thanks to myself and one friend who loves Greece and everything associated with it more than anyone I know, including my actual family.
One thing that people often think about this dessert is that it’s super complicated to make. This is complete bull; once you have everything measured out, it literally consists of just spreading the filling between the filo layers. So easy even I could do it.
And I did, so please enjoy this video and the following recipe.
Peace, Love, Baklava,
You Will Need
- 16 oz. walnuts
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 3 tbsp. plain bread crumbs
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 lb. filo pastry, thawed overnight at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups butter, melted
- Simple syrup: 1/2 cup honey, 2 cups sugar, 2 cups water, 1/2 cinnamon stick, 3 1″ strips of orange peel
[/You Will Need]
- In a medium pot, combine all ingredients for the simple syrup and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the syrup thickens slightly remove from heat and set aside.
- Toss the walnuts in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped but not pasty.
- Mix together the walnuts, cinnamon, ground cloves, bread crumbs, and sugar.
- Preheat your oven to 350F and grease a 13″x9″x2″ pan. Trim the filo sheets to fit the bottom of the pan.
- Lay the first 8 sheets on the pan, making sure to butter the tops of each one before layering the next. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the nut mixture evenly over the 8th sheet. Layer the next two buttered sheets and sprinkle another 1/3 cup of nuts on top. Continue this process until all the nuts are used. Top with 8 more buttered sheets (there should be 20 total).
- With a serrated knife, cut the baklava lengthwise into 4 equal strips. Carefully score only the top few sheets on the diagonal in order to create diamond-shaped pieces.
- Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and recut the entire pan into individual servings. Pour the cold simple syrup slowly and evenly over the top of the baklava. It might look like a lot initially but it will all be absorbed as it cools down.
- Let for up to 8 hours or even overnight (which is best).