Baklava is one of my favorite desserts. It originates in the Middle East and it’s a rich, decadent, sweet and delicious dessert. We’re talking irresistible layers of phyllo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with a honey syrup. It keeps well in the freezer and fridge, and even keeps at room temperature for about a week, so it’s a great option for gifts too.
For the Baklava:
- 16 oz walnuts
- 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom (or ground cloves)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 16 oz phyllo dough* thawed
- 1 cup butter melted
For the Syrup:
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup good quality honey**
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 strip orange peel
- 1 strip lemon peel
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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Pulse the walnuts in a food processor with the cinnamon, cardamom, and salt until well chopped.
To assemble the baklava, place 8 layers of phyllo dough one-by-one on the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan, brushing each lightly with butter.
Spread 1/5 of the walnut mixture evenly on top (about 2/3 cup).
Add another 5 layers of phyllo one-by-one, brushing each with butter, then add another layer of nuts. The total sequence should be phyllo layers of 8,5,5,5,5,8, with nuts in between those layers.
Bake the baklava for 50 minutes, until golden on the edges and tops.
In the meantime, bring all the syrup ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove the citrus peels and cinnamon stick, and pour the hot syrup evenly over the baklava.
Let the baklava cool completely at room temperature for 8 hours.