Technically, this recipe is not a greek one but comes from the ottomanic cuisine and our neighbouring Turkey (read more information about baklava here). People use to make it so often here that I firmly believe it is a part of our culture as well. We actually cooked one yesterday with my mom and I'd like to share with you our own take on this amazing sweet recipe.
for the baklava
450 gr. phyllo dough (1 package)
500 gr. walnuts, coarsely chopped
500 gr. butter
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground cloves
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup bread crumbs
for the syrup
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 Grease a pan and set the oven to 160oC
2 Mix the chopped walnuts with the sugar, the bread crumbs and the ground cinnamon and cloves in a bowl. Melt the butter in a pot.
3 Carefully unwrap the phyllo dough and cut each sheet in half so they fit in the pan. Cover them with a damp towel to prevent them from drying out.
4 Place a sheet of phyllo into the pan. Brush the phyllo with the melted butter using a pastry brush. Repeat 5 more times until there are 6 sheets layered.
5 Sprinkle a thin layer of the nuts mixture on top. Cover with two more sheets of phyllo, brushing each one with butter. Continue adding the nuts and phyllo in turns. The top layer should be at least 6 sheets thick, each one buttered thoroughly.
6 Cut into equally small diamond pieces with a sharp knife. Bake in preheated oven for about 1 1/2 hours, until the phyllo turns a rich golden hue.
7 Prepare the syrup while the baklava is in the oven. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add the honey, the cinnamon stick and the lemon juice and simmer for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly until the baklava is ready.
8 Remove the baklava from the oven and immediately spoon the syrup over it. Let it cool uncovered.
* instead of walnuts, you can use almonds, pistachios or a combination of them.
* baklava is often served with vanilla ice cream.
Images by Eleni Psyllaki for Grecian Paradise.