I always say, and I mean this through to my soul, food and cooking are never black and white.. it’s gray.
What do I mean by that? I mean the great thing about food and being creative in the kitchen, is that there is never one way to make a dish. Unless you are French, then they actually have councils that determine the way certain dishes can be made and presented. Okay so without the French on certain food, food should never be black and white. That’s exactly how I feel about my Baklava recipe.
My Baklava recipe is the way I do it… a little bit of Persian influence (Where my Persians at?!) an a little bit of regional, Mediterranean flavor influences as well. Baklava lovers, please give my recipe a shot. Those who have had my Baklava… here you go. Happy Baking!
Ingredients: makes around a dozen two inch/3 layered squares
30 sheets of Phyllo dough +/-
10 ounces plain halved walnuts, lightly roasted
10 ounces plain whole almond, lightly roasted (traditionally use blanched almonds.. I like the flavor in whole roasted)
fine chopped roasted pistachio
2 cups granulated sugar
2 full tablespoons InThe Kitchen With Scotty “More Than Pumpkin Pie Spice” (or ground cinnamon)
3 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
For the syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup honey
6 ounces water
3 strips orange peel, pith removed
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 large star anise
combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer slowly for 20 minutes to concentrate. Pour over the hot baked baklava fresh from the oven. Let set and cool before serving (preferably overnight)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Set out t a roll of frozen baklava in it’s package, and let it thaw. Remove from the package, unroll, and cover with a lightly dampened kitchen towel to prevent from drying out while you work on the ground nut filling.
- Place the roasted almonds and walnuts in a food processor, and pulse down to a coarse ground blend. Not dust and not “chopped nuts” but something in between. Pour out in to a large mixing bowl and add the sugar, More Than Pumpkin Pie Spice (substitute plain Jane cinnamon if for some crazy reason you don’t have my magical blend of More Than Pumpkin Pie Spice ). blend the sugar, nuts and spices throughly.
- Butter the bottom and sides of a deep dish baking pan. I use a small rectangular deep casserole dish. For the first layer, I like a thicker base. Start with 8 sheets of baklava, trimmed to the size of the dish. Lightly brush on butter to the phyllo. Add two cups of the ground nut mixture. Spread out and pat down lightly and evenly. Sprinkle a little melted butter on top. Add five sheets of baklava trimmed. Brush with melted butter, and add two more cups of the filling. Again, evenly and pat down the filing. Continue the process, ending with 5 sheets of the phyllo, buttered. This will be the top of your baklava.
- Gently score the baklava in to 2 inch square pieces evenly, then cut through to the bottom. Bake in the oven fro 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
- Spoon the syrup over the top of your baked baklava; enough to let the baklava gently soak up the syrup through the layers. Let the baklava cool completely before serving. Sprinkle the top with finely chopped pistachio. Best with hot flavorful tea on a cold afternoon, or in the middle of the night while sleep-eating. Enjoy!